Ancient twin caves discovered in Nalgonda [History]
- 200-metre-deep caves, a rare find, are probably the oldest-ever discovered in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
- Local tribal leaders Lalu Nayak and Bikku Nayak informed about the caves at Gajubeda Tanda, a hamlet under Kacharajupally grama panchayat.
Fungal threat to Indian forests [Environment]
- Indian plant pathologists are worried about the havoc that Phytophthora ramorum (Phytophthora ramorum is the oomycete plant pathogen known to cause the disease sudden oak death (SOD). The disease kills oak and other species of trees) could cause if it spreads to India and hence have underlined the need for an effective bio-security measure to prevent such an outbreak.
- P. ramorum was first reported in 1995, and the origins ofthe pathogen are still unclear, but most evidence suggests it was repeatedly introduced as an exotic species.
- Spread: Evidence indicates that this disease can be spread over several miles in mists, air currents, watercourses and rainsplash. Movement of infected plants is also a key means of spreading it over long distances. The disease also spreads when spores disperse during wet and windy can spread Pythophthora ramorum.
- Diagnosis: Diagnosis uses a combination of visual inspection by trained observers, and field tests of symptomatic bark and needles with test kits known as lateral flow devices (LFDs). Laboratory tests are required to either isolate the pathogen or detect its DNA to confirm the exact species.
- Prevention : One of the key measures that need to be implemented is quarantine facility and mandatory screening of all agricultural material that enters from one country to another country.
- Loss to India : Some experts point out that India is losing horticultural crops worth around Rs. 45,000 to 65,000 crore a year due to attack of various species of Phytophthora which include the late blight disease that seriously affect potato and tomato crops.