February 20, 2008

Help Wanted: Geranium Growers

Scientists at the University of Toledo (UT) are looking for geranium growers to participate in a study using a revolutionary new test to screen for Xanthomonas, the swift-moving bacterial blight that can wipe out an entire crop. The work was funded through a USDA Agricultural Research Service cooperative agreement. Dr. Shulu Zhang of Louisiana State University managed the project while he was at UT’s Plant Science Research Center along with Dr. Stephen Goldman of UT and Dr. R.V. Sairam at Penn State University. Grower Bill Bettinger of Toledo also supported the project. The scientists have developed a rapid, reliable test that is specific to 53 strains of Xanthomonas campestris pv. pelargonii (Xcp) but not to 46 other Xanthomonas species. Using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology, the test detects a gene to signal the presence of XCP and then scores infection based on symptom severity. The test defines the presence of […]

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November 28, 2007

Act Now To Get Ralstonia Unlisted

Now is the time for growers to ask USDA to remove Ralstonia solanacearum, Race 3, Biovar 2 (R3B2) from the bioterrorism list. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is calling for public comments on its list of “Select Agents”—diseases that are listed under the Agricultrual Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002. The deadline to respond is Monday, December 3, at midnight. Detailed scientific comments have been submitted by leading Ralstonia researchers, according to the Society of American Florists (SAF), but USDA needs to hear from industry members related to the economic impact and the impact on the geranium industry, specifically, of continuing to have Ralstonia on the bioterrorism list. This strain of the disease is already considered a quarantine pest, but adding it to the “select agent” list has inflicted an unnecessary and unjustified layer of protection which is actually harming agriculture and our growers. When R3B2 was accidentally introduced […]

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September 5, 2007

Bacterial Blight Breakthrough

Scientists at the University of Toledo have developed a revolutionary new test to screen geranium and pelargonium species for Xanthomonas–the swift-moving bacterial blight that can wipe out an entire crop. The work was funded through a USDA Agricultural Research Service cooperative agreement. Dr. Shulu Zhang of Louisiana State University managed the project while he was at the University of Toledo’s (UT) Plant Science Research Center along with Dr. Stephen Goldman of UT and Dr. R.V. Sairam at Penn State University. Grower Bill Bettinger of Toledo, Ohio, also supported the project. Goldman has developed a rapid, reliable test that is specific to 53 strains of Xanthomonas campestris pv. pelargonii (Xcp) but not to 46 other Xanthomonas species. Using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology, the test detects a gene to signal the presence of Xcp and then scores infection based on symptom severity. The test defines the presence of bacteria prior to […]

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March 7, 2007

Imported Plants Blamed For Invasive Pests

The Nature Conservancy is making a case for USDA to be as stringent with the importation of ornamentals as it is with fruits and vegetables. If USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service implements the conservancy’s recommendations, risk assessments will need to be conducted for hundreds of plant genera before they can be imported again. The conservancy’s goal is to protect forests from devastating diseases, like Sudden Oak Death. If the floodgates of imported plant material are open, how do we close them without disrupting our supply? What would you like to see APHIS do? Drop us a line at benchrunner@meistermedia.com.

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March 7, 2007

TMV Or Iron Deficiency?

New England Extension agents are helping growers sort it out in its recent Update, which is a great resource for cultural information: http://www.negreenhouseupdate.info/greenhouse_update/

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