Dr Ken Okwae Fening

Dr Ken Okwae Fening (University of Ghana)

Research title: The epidemiological role of cabbage aphids in the transmission of viral diseases and its impact on the growth and yield of cabbage in Ghana

Research project: Aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae, and possibly other species) found on cabbage in Ghana apart from sucking plant sap, seem to be transmitting a viral disease unto the cabbage. The symptoms include leaf curl, mosaic, stunted growth, yellowing and browning leading to complete wilting and death of the cabbage plant. The level of infestation and yield loss can range from 5-95% from my experimental fields in Ghana (Fening K.O, unpublished data). I have consistently observed this problem from 2010 to 2014, especially during prolonged drought periods, where the aphids’ infestations become more severe. Even though, it is known that aphids transmit viral diseases on cabbage, not much work has been done on the species of aphids involved in the transmission of viral diseases on cabbage in Ghana, the extent of infestation and associated yield loss. Research objectives: 
1. Identify/confirm the species of aphids found on cabbage in Ghana and relate them to the viral diseases they transmit and the type/identity of the viruses involved
2. To determine the viral load/virulence of the Ghanaian and UK populations of the cabbage aphids
3. To elucidate the epidemiological role of the cabbage aphids and the mode of viral transmission with reference to the Ghanaian populations of the aphids

Collaborator: Dr John P. Carr, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

Read a University spotlight on Ken's work here:Of cabbages and cows: increasing agricultural yields in Africa