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Research Project: Establishing the Infrastructure to Develop Prediction Tools for Diseases Affecting Cotton to Better Inform Management Decisions (U.TN)

Location: National Programs

Project Number: 0500-00102-001-013-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 19, 2020
End Date: Jun 18, 2022

Objective:
The first objective is to create DNA detection tools for cotton pathogens that can be multiplexed and deployed in air sampling systems. The second objective is to establish the association between initial inoculum, disease development and weather in sentinel plots to build and validate pathogen models. The third objective is to install passive air samplers in commercial cotton fields located near the Sentinel plots and capture daily weather data. The fourth objective is to create a cotton yield epidemiology model for Target Spot based on disease progress and pathogen load. The fifth objective is to archive all data, models, and samples from the previous objectives to allow future investigators to improve models and tools and to retrospectively identify invasive pathogens or virulent strains.

Approach:
The cooperator's lab at The University of Tennessee will conduct experiments as outlined under Objectives 1 (create DNA detection tools for cotton pathogens that can be multiplexed and deployed in air sampling systems – specially to develop calibration curves from DNA to spore numbers for Target Spot), Objective 2 (establish a SENTINEL PLOT with active and passive sampling of air borne spores to build and validate pathogen models) and Objective 3 (monitor a COMMERICIAL FIELD with passive sampling of air borne spores to validate models and demonstrate the utility of pathogen sampling) of the project. The experiments in Objectives 1 and 2 well be established at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (Jackson, TN) and (Cooperator's PI) will work with County Extension Agent to select the one field for the experiment described under Obj 3. Cooperator will supervise and work along with the Graduate Students assigned to the project to collect, ship and/or process plant tissue and aerosol samples, quantify target spot and other pathogens that infest the sites, and monitor cotton growth and weather conditions following the protocols detailed in the proposal. Cooperator's Graduate Student and the cooperator PI will also work with PIs in the other cotton participating states to organize, process, mine, and analyze weather, disease, and spore density data to quantity associations among measured responses, and eventually, test and validate various risk assessment models.