Advancing Knowledge for Researchers

Melanie Lewis Ivey  |  8/21/2014 7:21:24 PM

Research Overview

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Research in the Horticultural Crops Pathology Laboratory focuses on the development and integration of economical and sustainable strategies for plant disease management and food safety practices in vegetables and other horticultural crops. Through the use of mental models, operation risk assessments, expert elicitations and scoping or systematic reviews, effective communication and information exchange strategies specific to horticultural producers in Louisiana and surrounding states are being developed with this newly obtained knowledge.

To learn more about a specific research topic, select one of the topic links above.

A Systems Approach to Managing Microbial Threats to Greenhouse Tomatoes

A Systems Approach to Greenhouse Disease Management

Institutions: The Ohio State University and LSU AgCenter

Funding Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); Specialty Crop Research Initiative

Project Summary: The long-term goal of this project is to significantly increase the competitiveness, profitability, safety and sustainability of the greenhouse tomato industry by elucidating the critical points of introduction and spread of high-risk plant and human pathogens, providing new widely accessible prevention and mitigation tools and approaches, and applying these tools and approaches to manage microbial threats. The approach relies on intensive interaction between researchers and growers to develop realistic, science-based best management practices (BMPs) compatible with greenhouse tomato food safety and disease management.

Project Impact: Through research and education this project will provide greenhouse tomato producers in North America with new approaches to managing food safety and plant disease risks in the greenhouse, an economic assessment of these practices, and novel education resources.

Alternative Practices to Manage Bacterial Leaf Spot of Pepper

Institutions: LSU AgCenter

Funding Source: LSU AgCenter, Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology

Project Summary:  Pepper production in Louisiana and surrounding Gulf Coast states is severely limited by bacterial leaf spot disease. In Louisiana, three species of Xanthomonas cause this disease: X. euvesicatoria, X. perforans, and X. vesicatoria.  Bacterial leaf spot is very difficult to manage once it becomes established in the field.  Current management strategies, including streptomycin and copper, are minimally effective, detrimental to the environment with continuous use and incompatible with sustainable and organic production systems. Silicon is a promising alternative to conventional tactics as it is naturally found in the soil, is readily taken up by many plant species, improves plant health and can suppress plant disease, reduce insect attack and reduce the impact of environmental stresses on the plant. The objectives of this project are to evaluate the efficacy of silicon in reducing bacterial leaf spot in pepper seedlings and determine if silicon induces systemic acquired resistance in pepper seedlings.

Identification of Seed Sanitizers to Eradicate Pathogens on Tomato Seed

Institutions: LSU AgCenter, The Ohio State University, and Cornell University

Funding Source: Ohio Department of Agriculture – 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant

Project Summary: Seedborne bacterial plant diseases continue to be problematic and cause significant losses on tomato farms throughout the U.S. With the enactment of the Food and Drug Agency Food Safety Modernization Act (FDA-FSMA), producers have the added burden of ensuring that their product is safe for human consumption. This project seeks to identify seed treatments that address risks associated with both plant and foodborne pathogens that are practical and economically sensible for tomato producers.

Potential Impact: While seed treatments effective against bacterial phytopathogens are available, they are not compatible with pelleted seed. As most tomato producers now use pelleted (coated) seed, there is a need to identify seed treatments that are effective against seedborne bacterial pathogens, yet maintain the integrity of the pellet and the health of the seed. Seed are the major source of inoculum for foodborne illnesses associated with sprout consumption, and recent studies from project investigators demonstrated that Salmonella spp. can be transmitted at low incidence. Through research and education, this project will directly reduce plant diseases and foodborne illnesses risks and improve the profitability in the tomato industry.

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