Pecan scab is nut okay

A pecan, is not truly a nut, but is technically a drupe, a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk. So, put that in your pie and eat it. Or feel free to bore people with that fact at dinner parties.

Sweet and rich, the pecan’s flavour and texture is the result of its high levels of monosaturated oil – in fact, it’s the fattiest of all nuts. There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans and many are named for Native American Indian tribes, including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee.

pecan nut shell

Shellshocked

The biggest enemy of the tasty, fatty drupe is pecan scab, caused by Venturia effusa (basyonym: Fusicladium effusum), an ascomycete fungus in the class Dothideomycetes.

Pecan scab affects nuts in several ways. If severe, infection can result in defoliation and a reduction of the size and quality of the nut; if the infection occurs early in nut development, the nuts will abort.

In addition, if V. effusa reaches deep tissues in the shuck, it can cause the shuck to cling to the shell of the nut (a condition called “stick-tight”).

pecans

Endosymbiont

In this particular study, researchers at the Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research Unit, in Texas sought to determine whether V. effusa, the causative fungal agent of pecan scab, harbours a bacterial symbiont.

You can find out their conclusions and the challenges faced in the process in this article in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.



Categories: Feature Articles

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