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Importance of biotic factors and impact on cactus pear production systems

Ochoa, M. J., Lobos, E., Portillo, L., Vigueras, A. L.
Acta horticulturae 2015 no.1067 pp. 327-333
Cactoblastis cactorum, Dactylopius, Opuntia, Pseudocercospora, cactus pears, crops, cultivars, ecoregions, indigenous species, plantations, production technology, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico
Opuntia plants are native to different environments, so they would be an interesting genetic resource for diverse ecological regions; however, the high environment disturbance in many of these areas, results in low harvests in cactus pear productive systems. The main factors inducing this situation are the scanty social and economic conditions, inadequate cultivars and bad management of plagues and diseases. As other crops, cactus pear has a complex sanitary issue, which may vary from one region to another. This work had the aim to evaluate and update the occurrence position of the main biotic factors involved on cactus pear plantations impacting their several productive systems. The main biotic factors affecting this crop are Cactoblastis cactorum (cactus moth) in Argentina, Dactylopius opuntiae (wild cochineal) in Brazil, and Pseudocercospora opuntiae (black spot) in Mexico. Those plantations lacking sanitary management can show a reduction of 70-100% in production; this is a trend that has been observed invariably through the years.