In the News
"Phytophthora root and stem rot is problematic," Kurle said. "It is widespread in soybean producing areas across the U.S., and worldwide. In north central U.S., it is the second most damaging resulting in a yield loss of 42.2 million bushels alone in 1998."
Kurle said in Minnesota, phytophthora is responsible for yield losses approximately around 1 percent, but under the right conditions those losses can reach as high as 6 percent.
"Even worse, on an individual field basis, if it takes hold, losses of 50 to 60 percent have been seen," Kurle added.
What drives Ashok Chanda to solve disease problems in sugar beets, his U of M Extension program, and what got him interested in plant pathology. Learn more about assistant professor Ashok Chanda as he answers five questions.
“The gene found is not only resistant to Fusarium head blight, but to other diseases as well,” said University of Minnesota Plant Pathology Professor Ruth Dill-Macky.
Wheat scab and other small grain diseases, like stem rust, only affect the plants for a short period of time.
Fusarium head blight strikes late in wheat’s growth cycle when the plant flowers, Dill-Macky said, about two weeks before it turns golden brown.
Wheat with scab has a bleached-out tan color on its head, and the toxin eats away the seeds.
“The yield damage is economically important, but it really affects the farmers more than anything else,” Dill-Macky said.
Dill-Macky said farmers combat the disease by using fungicides and rotating their crops....
University of Minnesota plant pathology assistant professor Melania Figueroa said breeding programs are the most sustainable way to fight the disease.
“Basically, you’re using the immunity of the plant to combat the fungus, and you don’t just apply fungicides that could be harmful to human health and the environment,” Figueroa said. - via MN Daily
“The genome sequence is like a combination inventory, blueprint and roadmap for scientists to focus on genes and pathways that are most important for plant, animal and ecosystem health,” said Nevin Young, Ph.D., University of Minnesota plant pathology professor. “With alfalfa’s genome sequence, researchers know which genes are likely to affect disease resistance, digestibility and ability to produce natural nitrogen fertilizer. This will allow us to breed plants for higher quality and production.”
"What about applying a foliar fungicide to ward off disease damage following a hail storm? Dean Malvick, University of Minnesota Extension plant pathologist, warns against the promise of a miracle fix.
“The published results that I have seen indicate no significant benefit to application of fungicides to hail-damaged corn,” he says. “Also, crop consultants and producers have reported to me that when they applied fungicides to corn following hail damage in west central and south central Minnesota, there was no notable decrease in disease or increase in yield with the fungicide applications.”
That’s because Malvick says that the corn diseases that are most likely to increase after hail damage are not controlled effectively with fungicide applications. These include common smut, Goss’s leaf blight and possibly stalk rots.
Malvick wants to connect farmers who have applied fungicides to hail-damaged fields so researchers can learn more about the effects of this practice."
"Angela Orshinsky, assistant professor of plant pathology at the University of Minnesota, said hop plants have natural enemies such as aphids and mites. But the biggest challenge to growing hops in the Midwest is disease: powdery mildew and especially downy mildew, which can destroy crops.
Growers need to spray hops with fungicides every seven to 14 days to manage the mildew, Orshinsky said, so she is working on developing new hop varieties that would be more resistant to the mildew. The disease is less of a problem in the more arid hop farms in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, she said.
Breeding varieties more suitable to Minnesota’s climate is a long-term effort, Orshinsky said, so she also is pursuing a separate track. “We’re also researching ways of managing fungicides that have less environmental effects and also have less impact on the pocketbook,” she said." - Star Tribune
The University of Minnesota’s commitment to developing better microbiome methods for use in translational medicine, industry and agriculture research was recognized today by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This project includes Plant Pathology Professor Linda Kinkel and her expertise on the microbiome.
"Many scientists have noticed a buildup in recent years, including Senyu Chen, University of Minnesota plant pathologist.
Chen oversees SCN testing at the Southern Research and Outreach Center, Waseca. There was an average of almost 1,000 eggs per half-cup sample tested at the SCN lab in 2008. By 2013, the average egg count had increased to 2,000 eggs per half cup.
The SCN’s ability to reproduce on the very popular PI 88788 source of resistance is not limited to southern Minnesota where SCN was first officially identified in 1979. It extends to all 67 Minnesota counties that have SCN infestations – although some scientists say that PI 88788 is still working well in northwest Minnesota."