Jonathan Frantz was recently awarded a $100,000 Post-Doctoral Award from the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) to mentor a Post-Doctoral Associate for two years. Out of fifty awards agency wide, the award was one of nine awarded to the Midwest region. Each submitted proposal was evaluated by the National Program Leadership Team on different criteria; scientific excellence, relevance to National Program objectives and the capacity to perform and managed the proposed work.
The accepted proposal focused on problematic bacterial blight disease of tomatoes caused by several species of Xanthomonas that has been proven difficult to treat commercially. Dr. Frantz and colleagues have extensively researched Silicon (Si) over the years and have gained insight into the role of Si in many stress responses in a wide variety of plants. They have also seen significant foliar Si accumulation induced in tobacco and snapdragon treated with excess Cu and the group expect a similar response for tomato. The objective of the research will be: explain the mechanisms and environmental control of Si uptake; evaluate the plant response to Si uptake in tomato; and evaluate the feasibility of Si-induced tolerance to bacterial blight alone and in combination with Cu treatment in tomato.
Dr. Wendy Zellner, a recent University of Toledo graduate has been chosen as the Post-Doctoral Associate. Dr. Zellner worked alongside Dr. Scott Leisner where they conducted research with Si nutrition in plants.