Tag Archives: workshop

Phytophthora Diagnostic Workshop Held In Honduras

Plant diseases caused by Phytophthora species present major limitations to food security in the developing worldLate blight on potato caused by Phytophthora infestans caused the Irish famine, and Phytophthora species also limit production of cacao, taro and horticultural crops. Phytophthora is easily spread through international trade of plant materials and via airborne sporesSince plant pathogens do not carry passports nor recognize national borders, having a network of well-trained network of plant diagnosticians around the world benefits agriculture in the United States and abroad.

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The international team led a diagnostic workshop in Honduras attended by 21 plant disease diagnosticians from six Latin American countriesTechnologies for conducting rapid and accurate diagnostic assays for Phytophthora in plant and water samples under real-world working conditions were taught over four lab-intensive daysStudents learned basic pure culture methods for isolating Phytophthora, morphological identification techniques, and state-of-the-art molecular diagnostics assays including PCR, ELISA and DNA sequences to identify species. The workshop was held at Zamorano University, which also hosts the Horticulture Innovation Lab Regional Center.

This was the second in a series of plant disease diagnostic workshops held in Latin AmericaThe first workshop, also funded by USAID through the Horticulture Innovation Lab, was held in June 2010 and formed the basis of the Latin American Phytophthora Diagnostic Network,a network of well-trained plant disease diagnosticians throughout the region. Further workshops are planned for Southeast Asia and Africa.

With funding from USAID, the Horticulture Innovation Lab builds international partnerships—like this one between NC State plant pathologists and Latin American scientists—for fruit and vegetable research to improve livelihoods in developing countries.

Fifth Annual “Exploring Fungi” Workshop

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The Department of Plant Pathology held its fifth annual “Exploring Fungi” workshop for high school biology teachers on August 5-7, 2013 at North Carolina State University. Teachers from Harnett, Mecklenburg, Granville, Franklin and Wake counties in North Carolina were joined by undergraduate students and a professor from Middle Georgia State University in a program designed to encourage high school students to investigate concepts in the biology curriculum using fungi as model organisms. The three-day workshop focused on laboratory activities that illustrated elements in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study using fungi. Outdoor environmental activities that increased student awareness of the importance of fungi in ecosystem function, especially nutrient cycling, and the relative importance of science literacy and potential of citizen science in the high school curriculum, were also conducted. The teachers and undergraduate students also had an opportunity to interact with scientists at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. This program has been made possible through the continued and generous support from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and National Science Foundation (submitted by Caroline S. Vernia and Marc A. Cubeta).