UF/IFAS Scientist Develops Detection Method for Lethal Palm Disease That Saves Time, Money, Property (UF IFAS)

UF/IFAS Scientist Develops Detection Method for Lethal Palm Disease That Saves Time, Money, Property

More than 65 species of palm trees in the United States are vulnerable to a wood-decaying fungus that can damage or destroy palms.

The fungus, Ganoderma zonatum, which causes the lethal disease known as Ganoderma butt rot of palms, shows few symptoms before you can detect something is wrong. Its mysterious nature has stunted research for decades, making early detection of the silent killer impossible – until now.

A University of Florida scientist in Fort Lauderdale has developed the first-of-its-kind DNA-based diagnostic method that confirms the fungus in the palm months before the symptoms appear.

Published in the journal of Plant Disease, the scientist utilized previously compiled sequence data from genetically validated North American Ganoderma species to develop the tool. The result is a diagnostic protocol that can detect the genetic make-up of the lethal Ganoderma zonatum pathogen.

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