The scientists say that CuPC33 could be dispersed through infected woodlands by spraying or as a dense medicated mist that lands on leaves and branches. Using technology that atomizes the liquid into very tiny droplets, they anticipate ten litres of diluted CuPC33 is sufficient to treat one hectare of forest at a material cost of less than 60p per litre. The cost of manpower and machines would represent the bulk of the total cost of treatment.
Simon Leather, Visiting Professor in the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, who has been overseeing the field research through Imperial Consultants, said: "We hope to be able to develop a number of ways to apply CuPC33 that will be appropriate to different types of fungal and bacterial diseases and different species of tree. For example, a hand spray formulation of CuPC33 would enable gardeners to treat their ornamental plants and could help to limit the spread of disease. "The next step for us is to test this solution on infected trees in the field. We expect these trials to begin next Spring."
CuPC33 is effective at killing a number of the fungal pathogens threatening UK trees and plants including Pseudomonas syringae, known as Bleeding Canker of the horse chestnut, and Phytophthora ramorum, which causes Sudden Oak Death, a disease that affects oak and larch trees. CuPC33 is, in the view of the Natural Ecology Mitigation team, going to be equally effective for controlling Chalara fraxinea.
"Mature trees cannot be replaced for generations but, treated in time, infected trees can stil
|Contact: Simon Levey|
Imperial College London