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According to connoisseurs, the tastiest of coffee beans come from the Coffea arabica shrub, a fragile weakling that is susceptible to diseases and pests. And climate change isn't making things any easier for the plant. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, reports that although coffee producers and scientists agree that C. arabica is under siege, they don't agree on what to do about it.
Senior Editor Alex Scott notes that most coffee drinkers hold beans from C. arabica in the highest esteem. But the plant is facing some challenges. It is not very genetically diverse compared to most other crops, such as rice and soy, making it less adaptable to changing conditions. In addition, leaf rust has been a major foe, killing off large tracts of the plants across Central America in 2008. Pests, such as the coffee borer beetle, also can wreak havoc. And according to research...
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