University of Guam, College of Natural & Applied Sciences (CNAS) researchers and extension agents were recently awarded $160,000 in several grants that will assist Guam farmers, gardeners and coconut lovers. The monies were allocated from the USDA Farm Bill 2016 Plant Pest and Disease and Disaster Prevention Program.
Dr. Robert Schlub and his team (Roger Brown and Sheeka Tareyama) received a grant totaling $38,320 to continue working with tomato farmers monitoring for bacteria wilt that can potentially decimate entire crops. They are also monitoring for the tomato leafminer moth, scientific name Tuta absoluta. The juvenile stage of the moth, the tomato leafminer is a very damaging pest. Although they have not yet been found on Guam, it has been spreading around the globe destroying tomato crops. The team is setting traps with pheromone lures as a proactive measure to contain the spread of this serious moth pest before it causes a problem for the island’s farmers.
Plant pathologist Dr. Andrea Blas received a $24,000 award for enhanced diagnostic testing of coconut palm viroids including the tinangaja viroid.
Dr. Aubrey Moore was awarded $100,000 grant for biocontrol of the coconut rhinoceros beetle. These funds will allow him to continue work on finding a virus that will be effective in controling the biotype of beetles found on Guam.
CNAS scientists continue to successfully receive grant awards to carryout research and extension activities that serve Guam and the region.