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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research » Research » Research Project #445115

Research Project: Control of Phytophthora, Powdery Mildew, and Downy Mildew in Greenhouse Production

Location: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research

Project Number: 8062-21000-048-012-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

Because of the global nature of the floriculture industry and the constant introduction of new cultivars and species to provide innovative products for consumers, flower growers frequently encounter new diseases in their crops in spite of our best efforts to minimize pathogen introduction and movement. Rapid propagation systems to bring new crops to market may lead to shortcuts in clean stock production necessary for excluding viruses, bacteria and fungi. Thus, well-described diseases also continue to be a problem, as pathogens are inadvertently shipped from one greenhouse operation to another in the course of moving from stock farms to specialist propagators to crop-finishing growers. Additionally, the narrow profit margins for much of the industry encourage tight crop spacing, layered crops and automatic irrigation systems that provide cultural conditions that are very conducive to fungal, oomycete and bacterial disease development. Economic success of the greenhouse industry is in part determined by how well growers and their suppliers can minimize disease losses through clean stock production, sanitation practices and biological and chemical treatments. Integrated pest management is essential to minimize disease losses. This project will focus on identifying the most disease-resistant cultivars, facilitating identification of pathogens causing disease symptoms, and evaluating biological and chemical control treatments. Results will be reported to the greenhouse industry and the scientific community. We will develop new information to improve pest management.

This will include: 1. improving identification and management of the oomycete pathogens Pythium and Phytophthora spp. and downy mildews on floral crops. 2. testing susceptibility to the fungus Berkeleyomyces basicola on old and new hosts. 3. evaluating biocontrols and chemical fungicides for powdery mildew management. 4) improving management for Fusarium and Cylindrocladium wilt diseases on important floral hosts 5) identifying (in collaboration with ARS scientists) bacterial and viral agents of disease in flower crops, notifying plant breeding companies to help them set up systems to exclude these problems from production. Our studies will bring growers knowledge of how to avoid and recognize disease threats, as well as how to best employ new biological and chemical products for disease management.