|Pest and diseases on mukau and Jatropha curcas|
This research activity is concerned mostly with identifying the pests and diseases that attack both species. It is conducted with support from KEFRI’s phytopathologists and the University College of Ghent. A wide range of insects was found to affect J. curcas: They are thrips (Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis, Scirtothrips kenyensis), the rainbow shield bug or blue bug (Callidea dregii), mealy bugs (Ferrisia virgata, Planococcus spp.), white flies (Bemisia tabacii), the cotton stainer bug (Dysdercus suturelius), golden beetles (Aphtona spp), moths (Stomphastis spp), mites (Acari: Tarsonemidae) and caterpillars (Pempelia morosalis). J. curcas is also sensitive to powdery mildew (Oidium spp.), leaf spots (Alternaria spp) and root rot (Phytophtora, spp, Fusarium spp).
Mukau (Melia volkensii) suffers from various fungi in the nursery, like Fusarium spp. and others. The leaves of young seedlings can be seriously attacked by the red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) notably in a prolonged spell of dry weather, while a cancer from a not-yet-confirmed bacterial origin, can attack the bark and wood of young trees, provoking gummosis.