ARS Researchers to attend Emerald Ash Borer Workshop
"Western Finger Lakes Releaf in Collaboration with the city of Rochester Forestry Division to provide a Workshop on Emerald Ash Borer Preparedness and Resposes"
A Hard-To-Swallow Wort!
They’re invasive and destructive, and they’re taking over large areas of New York, New England, and Ontario. They sound innocent enough—called “pale swallow-wort” and “black swallow-wort,” and both are members of the milkweed family. They’ve come from Europe, where natural insect and plant disease enemies likely keep them in check. Here, they’re running amok because the vines contain strong and unique poisons that appear to limit their natural enemies. Even deer won’t feed on them.
Both swallow-wort species may be threatening monarch butterflies by displacing the common milkweeds on which they feed. Monarch larvae can’t survive on swallow-worts. The vines are also encroaching on no-till corn and soybean fields and Christmas tree farms. To find biological ways to curb this invasive weed, ARS scientists at three locations are teaming with researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Lindsey R. Milbrath, USDA-ARS Biological Integrated Pest Management Research Unit, Ithaca, New York; phone (607) 254-7268.
ARS Entomologist to Speak at Invasive Plant Conference
On February 7 and 8, Lindsey Milbrath, research entomologist, ARS U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, Ithaca, NY, has been invited to speak at the Invasive Plant Council of New York State conference "Invasive Plants on the Horizon & More" in Albany, NY. Milbrath will give one talk involving an overview of swallow-wort biology and current control tactics and a second talk on the development of the ARS biological control program for swallow-wort. Swallow-worts are an increasingly problematic weed in the Northeast.
ARS Entomologist to Speak at Public Swallow-wort Meeting.
On October 12, Lindsey Milbrath, research entomologist, ARS U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, Ithaca, NY, has been invited to speak at a swallow-wort public education meeting in Henderson, NY. Milbrath will give a research update on the development of a biological control program for swallow-wort. Two species of exotic swallow-worts, primarily found in the Northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada, are increasingly problematic weeds on both public and private lands.
ARS authors contribute to major publication on the Fungal "Tree of Life" project. ARS microbiologists Kerry O'Donnell (Microbial Genomics and Bioprocessing Research, Peoria, IL), Richard Humber (Plant Protection Research, Ithaca, NY), and Amy Rossman (Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory, Beltsville, MD) are among the coauthors of the most comprehensive and large-scaled study ever attempted on the phylogeny of all fungi. This study will be published in "Nature"; it is the major product of a multiyear study funded by the National Science Foundation on fungal evolution. Most of the findings are noncontroversial but among the few surprises are that there were multiple independent losses of flagella by fungi, new perspectives on the mostly insect-pathogenic fungi in the order Entomophthorales, and the placement of microsporidia among the lower fungi.
Scientist featured in Argentinean newspaper article about fungal biocontrol agents. While in Argentina as a Fulbright Senior Specialist to teach a course on fungal pathogens affecting invertebrates, Richard Humber (Plant Protection Research, Ithaca, NY) was featured in the October 27, 2006 issue of La Plata's 'El Dia'. The article discussed Humber's work on these fungi as well as comments from collaborators Claudia Lopez Lastra (National University of La Plata) and Daniel Sosa-Gomez (an Argentinean working in Brazil at Embrapa's Soybean Research Center in Londrina).
Scientist speaks to Montana Seed Potato Growers. Stewart Gray, plant virologist at the Plant Protection Research Unit, Ithaca, NY, traveled to the 40th Annual Montana Seed Potato Seminar in Missoula, MT on November 11, 2005, to give an invited presentation of his research findings on Potato Virus Y to the 250+ attendees. PVY is a re-emerging virus disease that has hit the seed potato and to a lesser extent the production potato industries especially hard in recent years. Widespread disease incidence increases, coupled with genetic changes in the virus which are manifested as a new necrotic disease in potato tubers has significantly reduced the amount of Certified potato seed that is available for commercial production. Lots of seed potato tubers can only contain a small number of virus infected tubers to be sold as higher priced Certified seed. Seed lots with high amounts of virus can only be sold for consumption or discarded as waste. Gray's research is aimed at understanding the genetic diversity of the virus and how the various strains of the virus differ in their ability to cause epidemics in the potato crop. This information is use to develop more effective virus disease management strategies.
Scientist speaks to the 24th Annual National Potato Council Seed Seminar. Stewart Gray, plant virologist at the Plant Protection Research Unit, Ithaca, NY, will travel to Dearborn, MI, December 7-10 to give an invited presentation of his research findings on Potato Virus Y to the 250+ attendees. PVY is a re-emerging virus disease that has hit the seed potato and to a lesser extent the production potato industries especially hard in recent years. In 2005 a potato virus disease management plan was developed and implemented among the potato seed production industries of Canada and the United States. As part of that management plan, a survey of Potato virus Y is being conducted in a seed production areas. Dr. Gray's laboratory is coordinating the survey activities for the United States. He will discuss findings of the first year of the survey as well as results of his own research aimed at developing improved management strategies for the viruses affecting the seed potato industry.
Several ARS scientists from New Orleans displaced by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina have been temporarily relocated to the U.S. Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory while repairs are underway at the Southern Regional Research Center. Scientists and their support staff will be hosted by both the Plant Protection Research Unit and the US Plant Soil & Nutrition Research Unit. Their research programs will also involve collaborations with Cornell University scientists in the Departments of Plant Pathology (Dr. Kathie Hodge) and Animal Science (Dr. Xingen Lei). Here the scientists will be able to return to their research efforts while they and their families adapt to a "normal" life in the Northeast. While the time frame for their stay is uncertain, they expect to eventually return to their homes & work again in the "Big Easy."
ARS Scientists Meet with Russian Collaborators on Fungal Entomopathogens and Their Biologically Active Products -- Drs. Donna Gibson (Plant Physiologist) and Richard Humber (Microbiologist) of Plant Protection Research Unit (US Plant, Soil & Nutrition Laboratory, Ithaca, NY) traveled to Obolensk, Russia, from August 7-14 to confer with Russian counterparts in a binational program. The research covers the collection and culture of fungal entomopathogens, and also the testing and characterization of compounds from them that show potentially useful activity against a wide spectrum of insect pests and weeds.
ARS Research Leader helps discover key enzyme in a plant pathogenic bacterium. Supervisory Plant Physiologist Donna M. Gibson, Ithaca, New York, and seven Cornell University collaborators have discovered a key enzyme involved in production of a toxic metabolite by a Streptomyces bacterium that causes potato scab. The research group has shown how a nitric oxide synthase enzyme helps the bacterium produce thaxtomin. Production of this metabolite by the bacterium causes many of the plant's disease symptoms. A similar enzyme is involved in cell communication in mammals but its role in bacterial physiology was previously unknown. The work was recently published in Nature (2004) 429: 79-81.