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2019/12/02

Price of dragon fruit falls dramatically

Dragon fruit prices in the central province of Binh Thuan, the country’s largest producer of the crop, are hitting rock bottom. The price of dragon fruit has fallen significantly to VND 6,000 - VND7,000 a kilogram causing heavy loss for farmers, the Dragon Association in Binh Thuan said yesterday.
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2019/12/02

Reporter's Diary: Former city boy wants to cash in on dragon fruit

"I have a love-hate relationship with the agricultural industry. On the one hand, it isn't easy for us to escape from the countryside, and eventually find stable work in the city. On the other hand, you get a huge sense of achievement when you see your plants bear fruit, and those fruits can help others… and my village's development."
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2019/11/25

Binh Thuan(Vietnam) grows more dragon fruit under GAP standards

The south-central province of Binh Thuan, the country’s largest dragon fruit producer, is expanding cultivation of dragon fruit under Vietnamese and global Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP and GlobalGAP) standards. Such standards help farmers save on fertiliser and pesticide costs, and promote sustainable production.
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Articles

2019/11/01

CURRENT STUDIES IN PITAYA VIRAL DISEASES

Pitaya (Hylocereus spp.), also known as pitahaya or dragon fruit, is a perennial climbing epiphytic plant in the family of Cactaceae. This cactus plant is native to the forests of Mexico, Central and South America and is becoming a high-value tropical fruit crop in Taiwan. Commercially cultivated pitayas are mainly propagated from cuttings. If mother plants are infected with viruses, diseases can be spread easily. In 2001, the research team of Professor Ruey-Fen Liou at National Taiwan University (NTU) published the first paper of pitaya-infecting virus, Cactus virus X (CVX) which is a member of the genus Potexvirus, in Taiwan. They purified a CVX-Hu isolate, prepared its antiserum and developed the DAS-ELISA for CVX detection. In addition, they cloned and completely sequenced the CVX-Hu isolate. Liao et al. at Taiwan Agriculture Research Institute performed a pitaya disease survey and the result indicated that CVX was widespread in the pitayas and the infection incidence ranged
50%~90% in different areas of Taiwan and Kinman.
In 2005, we isolated a new NTU strain of CVX from the pitayas grown in the experimental farm at NTU, and obtained the complete genomic sequence of CVX-NTU. During 2006 to 2008, one potexvirus, Zygocactus virus X (ZyVX), was isolated and identified by our laboratory in the pitaya samples collected from the Yanmingshan orchard. This is the first report of ZyVX in Taiwan and also the first record of pitaya-infecting ZyMV. In addition, another potexvirus was isolated from the same batch of pitaya samples, and it was identified to be a new species of the genus Potexvirus. Because this new potexvirus was originally found in pitaya and thus named as Pitaya virus X (PiVX). The results of phylogenetic analyses on the full-length genomes of CVX, ZyVX-P39, PiVX-P37 and other published potexviruses demonstrated that all Cactaceae-infecting potexviruses belong to the same cluster. To study the distribution of CVX, ZyVX and PiVX in the pitaya field, we developed a multiplex RT-PCR method for field survey. Pitayas sampled from several production areas in Taiwan were investigated for the infection rate and distribution of potexviruses. The field survey results showed that CVX was indeed widespread; ZyVX was not present in Taichung and Changhua; PiVX existed in Taipei, Ilan, Taitung and Changhua. If we can use this multiplex RT-PCR to screen pitaya propagation materials, a certification program for virus-free pitayas can be established to provide high quality pitaya seedlings for farmers.
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2019/11/01

THE NEW STAR OF DRAGON FRUIT-" CANDY CANDY" HAS SWEET FLESH

The Taiwan Agriculture Research Institute successfully breed the new variety of dragon fruit- "Candy Candy", which brings the taste and visual sensation for consumers. In the future, it hopes to promote the Candy Candy to the world and be the special variety of dragon fruit representing Taiwan.
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2019/11/01

ANTHRACNOSE OF PITAYA (HYLOCEREUS SPP.) CAUSED BY COLLETOTRICHUM SPP., A NEW POSTHARVEST DISEASE IN TAIWAN

Pitaya (Hylocereus undatus, H. polyrhizus, and H. costaricensis) has been widely planted as a fruit crop in Taiwan in the past three decades. Field survey in pitaya orchards during 2009 to 2013 showed that anthracnose of pitaya caused by Colletotrichum spp. was one of the major postharvest diseases in Taiwan. Disease symptoms encompassed brown colored sunken spots with or without water-soaked necrosis on the harvested fruits skin after storing at room temperature for 5–10 d, which apparently shortening the marketable period and reducing the price of the harvested fruits. Based on morphological characteristics and ITS region sequences, at least three species of Colletotrichum isolated from diseased fruits of pitaya collected from orchards in Taiwan were identified, including C. truncatum and 2 species within each respective C. gloeosporioides and C. boninense species complex, with isolation frequencies of 21.8, 73.4, and 4.8%, respectively, during 2009 to 2013. However, to precisely discriminate the Collectotrichum species within each respective C. gloeosporioides and C. boninense species complex, further multi-locus phylogenetic analyses are mandatory in the future. This is the first report of anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum spp. as an important postharvest disease of pitaya in Taiwan.
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