Hopes High to Crack the Code on Bacterial Spot of Tomato (Growing Produce)

Hopes High to Crack the Code on Bacterial Spot of Tomato

Bacterial spot can topple tomato crops anywhere the malady strikes. To help growers stay out of the red zone, University of Florida scientists are aiming to dig deeper into how the pathogen that causes the disease spreads and evolves on farms.

Erica Goss, a UF/IFAS associate professor of plant pathology, was recently awarded a $455,000 grant by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study the epidemiology of bacterial spot in tomatoes.

“Through this research, we hope to more quickly and effectively respond to changes in the bacterial spot pathogen that cause more disease problems in the field,” she said. “We are going to look at the effect of pathogen evolution — including the gain and loss of genes that we have observed to have occurred in Florida — on the spread of the pathogen from plant to plant in a given field.”

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