This is an update on the first part of my experimental season in Wageningen university, The Netherlands (June-November 2011) and (December-July 2012) at Africa Rice Center in collaboration with Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute in Tanzania. In these two periods I have conducted greenhouse experiments and a field survey in Kyela, a rice growing district in Tanzania. The experiments investigated the consequences of host parasite interactions on rice as a host as influenced by environmental conditions.
Green house experiments
It is not clear why parasitic weeds negatively affect their host while at the same time depend on them for their own reproductive success. To get more insights on this I examined the effect of R. fistulosa and Striga asiatica on the yielding ability of the host where parasitic weeds were sown at varying densities with rice hosts. Measurements of host growth rate, photosynthetic function and kernel production of the host were examined.
Field survey in Kyela
Kyela lies, in southern Tanzania, along the flood-plain of Lake Malawi. Here S.asiatica is observed in rice cultivated uplands while Rhamphicarpa thrives on rice fields on the lower hydromorphic and temporary flooded zones.
The field survey investigated the farmer field environment in which Rhamphicarpa and S. asiatica thrive. This included three transect walks to assess the landscape to both systems to understand field environments in terms of soil condition and elevation in relation to parasite (S. asiatica and or Rhamphicarpa) incidence.