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What’s eating your prize carrots? Get answers from scientists at BBC Gardeners’ World 2010

31 March 2010

Gardeners who have felt the pain at finding pests have ravaged their best flowers or that carefully nurtured vegetables have fallen victim to disease can get help from world-leading UK scientists this summer.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the UK's biggest funder of research in food and agriculture, will be exhibiting at the BBC Gardeners' World Live event at the NEC, 16-20 June 2010 with a display to explain and engage visitors about the bioscience behind gardening and garden pests and diseases - and BBSRC experts want to see your diseased or pest riddled carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and dahlias.

As part of the exhibit BBSRC scientists will be running regular surgeries where visitors can bring plants, vegetables or just questions to receive advice on the science behind the pests and diseases spoiling their efforts and possible ways to tackle problems. Scientists from world-renowned BBSRC Institutes, such as Rothamsted Research and the John Innes Centre, and university research groups will be taking part over the five days of the show.

Joining the scientists will be ground staff who have the job of providing the perfect plants, crops and flowers for scientific study. These plants are being used by BBSRC researchers to help understand plant biology and to offer ways of averting a crisis in food security. It is critical those plants are grown in the best way possible and these vital members of the BBSRC team will be on hand to pass on their advice and expertise.

Dr Patrick Middleton, BBSRC Head of Public Engagement, said: "The BBSRC exhibition will engage visitors with the importance of plant science and horticulture research to all of us. From helping gardeners grow their own vegetables to putting safe, nutritious and affordable fruit and vegetables on our tables, bioscience touches our lives every day.

"The science going on in your garden or allotment is fascinating. We want to help gardeners understand the science that is going on when the fruits of their labour are lost to blight or aphid attack. BBSRC is bringing some of the world's best plant scientists to the NEC for BBC Gardener's World Live in June to help to provide the answers.

"But we need help from the UK's gardeners - if you are losing your fruit, veg or flowers to pests or disease we need you to bring samples to our surgeries at the show so our scientists can examine them and explain what is going on."

BBSRC will be exhibiting at stand G732 on each day of BBC Gardener's World Live, 16-20 June 2010. BBSRC speakers will also be giving talks on the science of garden pests and diseases at the show's RHS Ask the Experts Theatre at 2pm on Thursday 17 June and at 3.15pm on Sunday 20 June.



BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Studies (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382

Patrick Middleton - Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI)

tel: 01793 413368
fax: 01793 413382