Discussion of the issues caused in Portugal by Phytophthora Ramorum, a pathogen affecting the local Cortilha, or Cork Tree, population. This problem has had a large impact on the personal lives of farmers in Portugal, as the trees and their growth and cultivation are deeply important to their culture. This disease affects the Cork Trees of Portugal through a rotting of their roots, and can begin causing issues from the time the trees are in their seedling stages. In order to protect against the fungus, farmers have begun to take various preventative measures, including the testing of the soil, the treating of the trees throughout their lives, as well as the careful observation of the trees for any characteristics that indicate that they have the disease. Once trees have been infected, there is little that can be done to alleviate the problem. For this reason, early detection and careful consideration of the symptoms is important to alleviating the symptoms. By doing this, farmers are learning to prevent the symptoms from spreading throughout their crops, and hopefully eventually eradicating the disease.
The trees that provide cork, an important material for industry in many countries, have been developing devastating infections from bacteria and contaminates in the soil. This issue is especially prevalent in Portugal, where local industry relies on the trees for the growth, harvesting, and manufacturing of cork (Locke 3). For this reason, fungus in Cortilha, or cork trees, and the wine stoppers that are made from them, is a growing concern for the industries of Portugal.
This devastating disease, known as decline, is a growing concern among growers of cork trees worldwide, particularly in Portugal, where in regions such as Grandola that rely on the product in order to manufacture cork, the issue is becoming more of a concern (Gil 8). To areas such as these, the cork tree is much more than simply an industry, it is an underlying aspect of their culture. The growth and harvest of these trees is important to their communities.
Phytophthora Ramorum, a pathogen that leads to sudden oak death, is a disease that spread to Europe despite worldwide efforts of eradication (Smith 32). It has begun to effect the cork trees, which are a type of oak. This effect has led to the need to address the problem, and various prevention methods have been developed. These methods rely on early detection and prevention from the seed onwards.
In order to prevent this disease from infecting the trees early detection, management of the landscape and wildlife, the use of disinfectants in the early nursery stages of the trees, and the use of general sanitation are necessary (Rodice 6). By focusing on the health of the seeds before the trees are born, and attempting to address the issues of the soil during their lives, the issues can be addressed. In this way, the cultural traditions of the regions regarding the growth and production of cork can be maintained.
The fungus affecting the cork trees of Portugal have had a large impact upon the industrial and cultural lives of farmers throughout the country. The spread of the disease indicates the issues that the worldwide community have had in eradicating it. However, in taking early preventative measures, and carrying through with maintain the health of the population, farmers are learning to alleviate the symptoms of the devastating disease.
Asia, Tami. Amur Corktree Phellodendron Amurense Rupr. USDA Forest Service. 2005.
Baretto, M.C. Unveiling the Fungal Mycobiota Present Throughout the Cork Stopper
Manufacturing Process. Federation of European Microbiological Societies. 2012.
Billings, Lee. Two Minutes: Saving Portugal’s Corks! Intel ISEF. 2007.
Chandler, Ann. The Other Side of Cork. Aramco World. 2012.
Capone, Dimitra L. Identification of New Cork Taint Compound. The Australian Wine Research
Danesh, P. Mycobiota in Portuguese 'Normal' and 'Green' Cork Throughout The Manufacturing
Process of Stoppers. NCBI. 1997.
Gil, Luis. Cork, Culture, Nature, Future. Cork Information Bureau. 2010.
Henriques, Joana. Fungi Associated to Platypus Cylindrus Fab in Cork Oak. Revista de Ciencies
Henriques, J. Ambrosia Fungi in the Insect-Fungi Symbiosis in Relation to Cork Oak Decline.
Lacey, J. The Air Spora of a Portuguese Cork Factory. The Annals of Occupational Hygiene.
Locke, Jim. The story of the Natural Cork begins in Portugal. Cork Producers Portugal. 2009.
Lynx, Iber. Portuguese Cork – Good for the People, the Planet and the Economy. Portuguese
Cork Produces. 2010.
Menard, Chantel. Cork Screwed? Environmental and Economic Impacts of the Cork Stoppers
Market. WWF. 2010.
Pausas, Julie G. Cork Oak Woodlands on the Edge: Ecology, Adaptive Management, and
Restoration. Society for Ecological Restoration National. 2012.
Pereira, Cristina Silva. Effect of Fungal Colonization on mechanical Performance of Cork.
Elsevier. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation. 2006.
Rodice, Barnes. Quercus Suber: Cork Oak. Science and Conservation. 2004.
Santos, Joao. From the Cork Oak to Cork: A Sustainable System. Instituto Superior de
Silva, S.P. Cork: properties, capabilities and applications. International Materials Review. 2005.
Smith, Tony. Environment : Natural Enemies Drying Up Portugal Cork Crop : Drought, neglect
and disease have ravaged country's cork oaks, which produce half the world's output. Los Angeles Times. 1999.
Ulquist, Nando. Exposure to fungi in cork: Potential occupational hazard. Research Gate. 2008.