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University of Warwick experts give advice at BBC Gardeners’ World

 Got a plant pest problem? Get the science answers from University of Warwick experts at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

Visitors to BBC Gardeners’ World at the NEC Birmingham this week (16-20 June) have the opportunity to get some answers to problematic plant pest issues when world-leading plant scientists from the University of Warwick help to set up a ‘lab’ at the show – and will examine any plant with pest or disease problems that gets brought to them.

 Any keen gardener who has experienced the pain of seeing their prize vegetables or best roses fall victim to pests or diseases will be able to visit the ‘Garden Gate-crashers’ stand to find out more about the science of these unwelcome visitors. The stand, made up of a potting shed area and a lab zone, not only includes displays but will also be manned throughout the week by scientists and horticulturalists from the UK’s top plant and crop science institutes and universities.

Visitors can bring samples of afflicted plants and vegetables from home for examination by the scientists on the stand. The experts will then provide a scientific explanation of what is going on and some ideas on what could be done to prevent losses.

Professor Eric Holub from Warwick HRI at the University of Warwick said:

At Warwick HRI researchers  have been using natural diversity within brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower kale) and wild relatives to identify genes that can provide environmentally-friendly control of major vegetable diseases. Black rot, for instance, is a destructive disease caused by a bacterial infection and favoured by warm growing conditions.  BBSRC currently supports a partnership of UK and African crop scientists to develop new black rot resistant varieties, providing benefits at home and
abroad.

Garden Gate-crashers is being brought to BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2010 by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the UK’s biggest public funder of research in food and agriculture.

Dr Patrick Middleton, BBSRC Head of Public Engagement, said: “It is frustrating when you lose plants or vegetables to pests and diseases in your garden but it is catastrophic when the same thing happens to the global harvest. Our scientists are at the forefront of efforts to improve global food security by finding ways to overcome the threat of pests and diseases.

“Now, for just a few days, these experts will be at the NEC for BBC Gardeners’ World Live to explain their research and to help visitors understand the science going on in their gardens.”

BBSRC will be exhibiting at stand G732 on each day of BBC Gardener's World Live, 16-20 June 2010. BBSRC speakers will also be giving talks on the science of garden pests and diseases at the show's RHS Ask the Experts Theatre at 2pm on Thursday 17 June and at 3.15pm on Sunday 20 June.

For more information about BBC Gardeners’ World Live visit: http://www.bbcgardenersworldlive.com/

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES WITH PARTICIPATING SCIENTISTS AVAILABLE – SEE CONTACT DETAILS BELOW

 BBSRC External Relations Unit

Matt Goode, Tel: 01793 413299, Mobile: 07766 423 372, email: matt.goode@bbsrc.ac.uk

Patrick Middleton, Tel: 01793 413368, email: patrick.middleton@bbsrc.ac.uk

About BBSRC BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK  and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.  BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:  The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Studies (Aberystwyth University), Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre, Rothamsted Research, The Genome Analysis Centre  and The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh). The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

  For more information see: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk