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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Barbara J. Smith
Research Plant Pathologist

Dr. Barbara Smith

Research Plant Pathologist


  • B.S., Mississippi State University; major, Plant Pathology
  • M.S., Mississippi State University; major, Plant Pathology; minor, Biochemistry
  • Ph.D., Louisiana State University; major, Plant Pathology; minor, Horticulture

Research and Teaching Experience:

  • 1986-present Research Plant Pathologist, USDA, ARS, Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, MS
  • 1977 86 Plant Pathologist, (Support Scientist), USDA, ARS, Poplarville, MS
  • 1976 Biology Professor, Southeastern Baptist College, Laurel, MS

University Affiliations.

  • Adjunct member of the Graduate Faculty at Mississippi State University
  • Affiliate member of the Graduate Faculty at Louisiana State University
  • Adjunct member of the Graduate Faculty at University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Smith actively participates in several scientific organizations and has served as an officer of the Mississippi Association of Plant Pathologists and the American Phytopathological Society - Southern Division. She has served as an advisor for master and PhD students at Mississippi State and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Blackberry Rosette Information

Research Interests

Small Fruit Plant Pathology Research

Dr. Smith conducts basic and applied research in the broad area of diseases of small fruit crops as part of a long range program designed to develop new and improved cultural and management practices and new and improved small fruit cultivars which are pest resistant and adapted to the Gulf Coast Region. She is responsible for developing and conducting research on plant disease control that is of immediate importance to growers of small fruit crops and also is of long-standing importance (e.g., pathogen identification and physiology, interaction among genotypes of small fruit hosts and their pathogens). Dr. Smith's research assignment to small fruit diseases includes diseases of strawberry, blueberry, blackberry and muscadine grape; their epidemiology and control, and breeding for disease resistance.

Dr. Smith’s major emphasis is on strawberry anthracnose. She developed a screening program to identify anthracnose crown rot resistance in large populations of strawberry seedlings which is used worldwide to identify strawberry germplasm resistant to Colletotrichum acutatum as well as C. fragariae. Dr. Smith was the first in the U. S. to report the occurrence of the destructive anthracnose fruit rot pathogen, C. acutatum, and that three Colletotrichum species caused identical symptoms on strawberry plants, and to identify several important distinguishing characteristics between these species. She studied the epidemiology of strawberry anthracnose and the effect of various cultural practices on the severity and spread of the disease in the field, and determined that strawberries grown in soils with high levels of nitrogen, especially from ammonium sources, are more susceptible to anthracnose than plants grown in soils with lower nitrogen levels or those with high levels of calcium nitrate. Overhead irrigation and plastic mulch resulted in more severe anthracnose than drip irrigation and straw mulch. Dr. Smith identified factors affecting the expression of resistance to C. fragariae by strawberries; age and nutritional status of the plant, method of inoculation and effect of races of the pathogen. Along with a plant geneticist she determined the inheritance of resistance to Colletotrichum species in strawberry and released a cultivar, 'Pelican,' and three strawberry clones resistant to anthracnose crown rot, which have been supplied to plant breeders from throughout the world. She was invited to write three chapters on strawberry anthracnose for the revised edition of the APS Strawberry Compendium.

Dr. Smith studies rosette disease of erect blackberry and through SEM observations the relationship between the casual fungus, Cercosporella rubi, and the blackberry flower buds. Through field studies she established that the infection period began during bloom and continued through the summer. This differed from previous research which had indicated that infection did not occur after mid-May and thus resulted in a change in the fungicide spray schedule which greatly improved the effectiveness of chemical control. She identified cultural practices that reduce disease incidence and used an in vitro assay to screen fungicides for activity against C. rubi. Dr. Smith and a plant geneticist studied the inheritance of rosette resistance in erect blackberry. Dr. Smith wrote the chapter on blackberry rosette in the APS Raspberry and Blackberry Disease Compendium.

Dr. Smith has identified the major berry diseases occurring on rabbiteye blueberries at harvest and the susceptibility of rabbiteye cultivars to these diseases, and was the first to report that C. acutatum was the major causal agent of blueberry ripe rot rather than the more commonly reported C. gloeosporioides. She developed an in vitro assay to identify blueberry germplasm resistant to stem blight and along with the plant geneticist used the assay to screen blueberry germplasm for resistance to stem blight. This information is being used by plant breeders as they select parents for future crosses, by horticulturists as they recommend cultivars to plant and by extension plant pathologists as they develop fungicide spray recommendations. Her other publications on blueberry include reports on botrytis blossom blight and phytophthora root rot.

Dr. Smith and a Ph. D. level graduate student conducted studies on the identification, incidence and epidemiology of diseases on muscadine grape in south Mississippi. They investigated the efficacy of fungicide control of these diseases, and identified a reduced fungicide spray schedule for muscadines grown for the juice market. Dr. Smith identified major diseases occurring on muscadine grapes and cultivar susceptibility to these diseases and collaborated with scientists at Florida A&M who develop a quick and accurate method to detect the bacterial pathogen (Xylella fastidiosa) in grapevines


Barbara J. Smith

Research Plant Pathologist

Journal Articles

1. Smith, B. J. and J. M. Spiers. 1982. Evaluating techniques for screening strawberry seedlings for resistance to Colletotrichum fragariae. Plant Disease 66:559 561.

2. Smith, B. J. and L. L. Black. 1986. First report of Colletotrichum acutatum on strawberry in the United States. Plant Disease 70:1074.

3. Smith, B. J. and L. L. Black. 1987. Resistance of strawberry plants to Colletotrichum fragariae affected by environmental conditions. Plant Disease 71:834 837.

4. Marroquin, E., F. B. Matta, C. H. Graves, Jr., and B. J. Smith. 1990. Association between blackberry flower bud development and fungal growth of Cercosporella rubi. J. of MS Academy of Sciences 35:31 33.

5. Marroquin, E., F. B. Matta, C. H. Graves, Jr., and B. J. Smith. 1990. Comparison of four bioassay methods for in vitro efficacy of fungicides for control of Cercosporella rubi. J. of MS Academy of Sciences 35: 35 38.

6. Marroquin, E., F. B. Matta, C. H. Graves, Jr., and B. J. Smith. 1990. Effect of fungicides on rosette (Cercosporella rubi) disease control in 'Cheyenne' blackberry. J. of MS Academy of Sciences 35:39 40.

7. Marroquin, E., F. B. Matta, C. H. Graves, Jr., and B. J. Smith. 1990. Relationship between flower/fungal development in blackberry infected with Cercosporella rubi. HortScience 25:1448.

8. Smith, B. J. and L. L. Black. 1990. Morphological, cultural, and pathogenic variation among Colletotrichum species isolated from strawberry. Plant Disease 74:69 76.

9. Smith, B. J., L. L. Black, and G. J. Galletta. 1990. Resistance to Colletotrichum fragariae in strawberry affected by seedling age and inoculation method. Plant Disease 74:1016 1021.

10. Gupton, C. L. and B. J. Smith. 1991. Inheritance of resistance to Colletotrichum species in strawberry. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 116:724 727.

11. Smith, B. J. and L. L. Black. 1991. Greenhouse efficacy of fungicides for control of anthracnose crown rot of strawberry. Pages 221 223 in The Strawberry into the 21st Century, A. Dale and J. Lubby, eds. Timber Press, 280p.

12. Smith, B. J. and J. A. Fox. 1991. Rosette. Pages 13 15 in: Compendium of Raspberry and Blackberry Diseases and Insects. M. A. Ellis et al., eds. APS Press, St. Paul, MN, 100 pages.

13. Smith, B. J. and L. L. Black. 1992. In vitro activity of fungicides against Colletotrichum fragariae. Acta Horticulturae 348:509 512.

14. Smith, B. J. and C. L. Gupton. 1993. Calcium applications before harvest affects the severity of anthracnose fruit rot greenhouse grown strawberries. Acta Horticulturae 348:477 482.

15. Smith, B. J. and T. C. Lockley. 1993. Control of red imported fire ant in blueberries with fenoxycarb. J. of Entomol. Sci. 28:236 239.

16. Galletta, G. J., Smith, B. J. and Gupton, C. L. 1993. Strawberry parent clones US70, US159. US292, and US438 resistant to anthracnose crown rot. HortSci.28:1055-1056.

17. Olien, W. C., B. J. Smith, and C. P. Hegwood. 1993. Grape Root Borer: A review of the life cycle and strategies for integrated control. HortScience 28:1154-1156.

18. Smith, B. J. and L. L. Black. 1993. In vitro fungicide studies show the occurrence of benomyl resistant Colletotrichum spp. from strawberry. Advances in Strawberry Research 12:42 48.

19. Gupton, C. L., B. J. Smith and G. J. Galletta. 1994. Breeding small fruit for disease resistance in a humid climate. Acta Horticulturae 403:131-139.

20. Harris, J. P., B. J. Smith and W. C. Olien. 1994. Activity of grape root borer (Lepidoptera:Sesiidae) in southern Mississippi. J. Economic Entomology, 87:1058-1061.

21. Kummuang, N., Smith, B. J. Diehl, S. V. and Graves, Jr., C. H. 1996. Muscadine grape berry rot diseases in Mississippi: Disease identification and incidence. Plant Disease 80:238-243.

22. Kummuang, N., Diehl, S. V., Smith, B. J. and Graves, Jr., C. H. 1996. Muscadine grape berry rot diseases in Mississippi: Disease epidemiology and crop reduction. Plant Disease 80:244-247.

23. Smith, B. J., Galletta, G. J., DeVittorio, T. J., Constantin, R. J. and Ballington, J. R. 1996. Notice of the release of Pelican, an anthracnose resistant short-day shipping strawberry for the southern United States.

24. Smith, B. J., Magee, J. B. and Gupton, C. L. 1996. Susceptibility of rabbiteye blueberry cultivars to postharvest diseases. Plant Disease 80:215-218.

25. Galletta, G. J., Maas, R. L., Finn, C. E., Smith, B. J., Gupton, C. L., Luby, J. J. and Wildung, D. K. 1997. New Strawberries from USDA Cooperative Breeding Programs. Acta Horticulturae 439:227-232.

26. Galletta, G.J., J. L. Maas, C.E. Finn, B.J. Smith & C.L. Gupton. 1997. The United States Department of Agriculture strawberry breeding program. Fruit Varieties Journal 51:204-210.

27. Magee, J. B., Smith, B. J., Gupton, C. L. and Spiers, J. M. 1997. Comparison of three new southern highbush blueberry cultivars. Acta Horticulturae 446:143-147.

28. Smith, B. J. 1997. Detached stem assay to evaluate the severity of stem blight of rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei). Acta Horticulturae 446:457-464.

29. Smith, B. J. 1998. Botrytis blossom blight of southern blueberries: Cultivar susceptibility and effect of chemical treatments. Plant Dis. 82:924-927.

30. Smith, B. J. 1998. Anthracnose Leaf Spot and Irregular Leaf Spot. Pages 24-25 in: Compendium of Strawberry Diseases, 2nd edition. J. L. Maas, ed. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

31. Smith, B. J. 1998. Anthracnose Fruit Rot (Black Spot). Pages 31-33 in: Compendium of Strawberry Diseases, 2nd edition. J. L. Maas, ed. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

32. Smith, B. J. 1998. Anthracnose Crown Rot. Pages 46-48 in: Compendium of Strawberry Diseases, 2nd edition. J. L. Maas, ed. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN.

33. Smith, B.J., C.L. Gupton, G.J. Galletta, J.L. Maas, J.M. Enns, J.R. Ballington, Jr., R.J. Constantin, T.J. DiVittori and D. Himelrick. 1998. ‘Pelican’ Strawberry. HortSci. 33:1082-1084.

34. Gupton, C. L., and B. J. Smith. 1997. Heritablility of Rosette Resistance in Blackberry. HortScience 32:940.

35. Albibi, R., Chen, J., Banks, D., Lamikanra, O., Jarrett, R., and Smith, B. J. 1998. RAPD Fingerprinting Xylella fastidiosa Pierce’s disease strains from a vineyard in North Florida. FEMS Microbiology Letters 165:347 352.

36. Banks, D., R. Albibi, J. Chen. O. Lamikanra, R.L. Jarrett, and B.J. Smith. 1999. Specific detection of Xylella fastidiosa Pierce’s Disease strains. Current Microbiology 39:85-88.

37. Smith, B. J. 1999. Susceptibility of southern blueberry cultivars to Botrytis blossom blight. Fruit Varieties Journal 53:48-52.

38. Martin, R.R., B.J. Smith, and P.R. Bristow. 2000. Common Names of Plant Diseases: Diseases of caneberries (Rubus spp.)

39. Garces, S., F. Hammerschlag, J. Maas, M. Koch-Dean and B.J. Smith. 2002. Increased resistance to Colletotrichum acutatum is exhibited by leaf explant regenerants derived from several strawberry cultivars, p 54-57. In: S. C. Hokanson and A.R. Jamieson (eds.). Strawberry Research to 2001; Proc. 5th North American Strawberry Conf., Toronto. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.

40. Krewer, G., Smith, B.J., Brannen, P., and Horton, D. 2001. Commercial Bramble Culture. University of Georgia Bulletin 964, 47 pages. Athens, Ga.

41. Magee, J.B., Smith, B.J., and Rimando, A. 2002. Resveratrol Content of Muscadine Berries is Affected by Disease Control Spray Program. HortScience 37:358-361.

42. Smith, B. J. 2002. Susceptibility of vegetative tissues of fruit and vegetable hosts to infection by various Colletotrichum species. Acta Hort 567:631-634.

43. Ballington, J. R., J. L. Shuman, B. J. Smith, and S. C. Hokanson. 2002. Breeding strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) for resistance to anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum acutatum. Acta Hort. 567:89-92.

44. Smith, B.J. 2002. Susceptibility of Southern Highbush Blueberry Cultivars to Phytophthora Root Rot. Acta Hort. 574:75-79.

45. Curry, K.J., Abril, M., Avant, J.B., and Smith, B.J. 2002. Strawberry anthracnose: Histopathology of Colletotrichum acutatum and C. fragariae. Phytopathology 92:1055-1063.

46. Wedge, D.E., Curry, K.J., Boudreaux, J.E., Pace, P.F., and Smith, B.J. 2001. A Microtiter Assay Demonstrates Sensitivity and Resistance Profiles ofr Botrytis cinerea Isolates from Louisiana Strawberry Farms. Advances in Strawberry Research 20:24-30.

47. Denoyes-Rothan, B., Guerin, G., Delye, C., Smith, B., Minz, D., Maymon, M., and Freeman, S. 2002. Genetic diversity and pathogenic variability among isolates of Colletotrichum species from strawberry. Phytopathology 93:219-228.

48. Smith, B.J. and J. F. Killebrew. 2002. Epidemiology and Control of Blackberry rosette caused by the fungus Cercosporella rubi. Acta Horticulturae 585:319-323.

Last Modified: 11/20/2007