In the News
“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."
Offered an agricultural internship, Justin Stanton of Detroit Lakes got pretty adventurous – he undertook a two-month-long internship in Uruguay.
Plant Pathology Assistant Professor Madeleine Smith advises growers that frequent scouting and proper variety selection are key to staying ahead of wheat diseases.
Plant Pathology Graduate Student Josh Havill talks about his research on hops diseases in Minnesota on the Trellis to Table podcast.
Hops, turfgrass, and tomatoes are all areas of focus for Assistant Professor Angela Orshinsky's research. Learn more about her research and outreach with University of Minnesota Extension, as well as how she got involved with plant pathology.