Volume 11 Issue 23
WSU Berry and Potato Pathology Program Update
Berry and Potato Pathology (BPP) program is a year old now! In 2021 our efforts were geared towards adding personnel to the team, networking with growers and stakeholders to identify research needs, and securing funds to conduct research that meet the needs of blueberry and potato growers. We are excited to start another productive year in collaboration with our supportive growers as well as with other researchers in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Chakradhar Mattupalli, Program Lead
- Our collaborative project on developing a decision support system for mummy berry management is now live on AgWeatherNet website (https://weather.wsu.edu/). Please test this beta version of the model and provide feedback. Similar to last year, we are continuing to provide Weekly Mummy Berry Updates to blueberry growers.
- In collaboration with a seed potato grower and USDA-ARS researchers from Ithaca, NY, we tested the feasibility of direct dormant tuber testing for necrotic viruses. This approach has the potential to make virus testing of potato seed lots quicker and less expensive. For more information, please check out these two latest articles published in Spudman magazine. (https://spudman.com/article/rethinking-seed-potato-certification-moving-toward-a-grower-focused-system/; https://spudman.com/article/covid-19-tech-provides-lessons-for-seed-potato-certification-improvements/)
- More research projects focusing on other potato and blueberry diseases are being initiated this year. Stay tuned for more updates from us!
Dayna Loeffler, Agricultural Research Technician
- I am currently building spore samplers and deploying them in blueberry fields to collect airborne inoculum of mummy berry pathogen. I am also developing methods for molecular detection of mummy berry pathogen from air samples.
- In addition, I am also responsible for day-to-day operations of the program, which includes training interns, monitoring and operation of lab equipment, maintaining lab chemical inventory, and serving on the research center’s safety committee.
Roshani Baral, First Year Master Student
- My research focuses on evaluating Botrytis fungicide resistance in blueberries from Washington and Oregon.
- In collaboration with USDA-ARS researchers, we are collecting plant samples from several blueberry farms in Whatcom and Skagit Counties and isolating the pathogen for assessing its sensitivity to fungicides in different FRAC classes.
- We anticipate the findings from this research will help growers to limit the usage of ineffective fungicide chemistries or strategically alternate fungicides with different modes of action.
Alec Blume, Second Year Master of Science in Agriculture Student
- Currently, I am working on a literature review on the impacts of fumigants on soil microbial communities in potatoes. This project will help develop a deeper understanding of the complex biological, chemical, and physical properties of soil.
- The highlight of my learning has been taking concepts from my schoolwork and applying them hands-on to scenarios at the farm level.
- I observe host and pathogen development stages involved in the development of mummy berry disease. I have been collecting data from four farms in Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, and Island Counties.
- This information is being provided to growers as weekly mummy berry updates.