Plant viruses are responsible for significant losses in crop production annually. Infections are often exacerbated by mixed infections. One strategy of combatting viral disease spread lies in swift diagnoses so that immediate interventions can be employed to slow or stop their spread. Sweet pepper, hot pepper, and tomato are among the most important cash crops in Jamaica and are constantly threatened by pathogens.
A major challenge facing farmers in Portland, Jamaica is dry weather, especially during the optimal growing season from April through August. During this five-month period Portland suffered from severe dry spells during the years 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2020. A second challenge is the damage to crops and land as well as loss of livestock due to tropical storms or hurricanes and the associated flooding. Portland farmers have suffered losses due to an active hurricane season numerous times and most recently in the years 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2020.
Piano grass (Themeda arguens), reputed to have been introduced to Jamaica as packing material in an imported piano1 . There are about 27 varieties of this highly invasive grass/weed worldwide and in Jamaica the species previously identified as Themeda arguens is of concern as it has progressively taken over lawns, pastures and roadsides . The grass is of particular concern to livestock farmers due to its highly invasive and aggressive nature and the concomitant negative effect on livestock productivity, especially during its annual seeding period (November/December – April) , when the palatability of the grass diminishes significantly and the seed awns can cause severe damage to the mouth when consumed, and feet of livestock , sometimes requiring veterinary intervention.
The malaria epidemic was responsible for about 241 million infectious cases and 627,000 deaths worldwide in 2020. This infectious disease, transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito, is caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium namely P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. knowlesi, P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri.[2,3] Also, malaria is found predominantly in the highlands of Africa which accounts for more than 90% of infections worldwide. While there has been some success in the treatment of malaria, its eradication has been negatively impacted by insecticide and drug resistance. With emergence of thiosemicarbazone as antimalarial agents, the combination of pyridine and amide or thioamide moieties into one scaffold makes for an interesting target.
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