Oct 9, 2018
Washington state secures funding for potato research, including on potato psyllid

The USDA, through their Specialty Crop Block Grants program, awarded over $600,000 to support three potato research projects to Washington state researchers. The awardees of these grants and their project are:

  • Kiwamu Tanaka, of Washington State University in Pullman, was awarded $249,414 for a project entitled “High-Throughput Technology for Molecular Detection of Potato Pathogens.” This project seeks to develop a method to simultaneously detect multiple potato pathogens from potato tissue or soil. This method would streamline pathogen detection and would benefit seed potato certification, enhance trade and allow pre-plant assessments of potato fields.
  • Rodney Cooper, of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Wapato, was awarded $215,538 for a project entitled “Gut Content Analysis to Pinpoint the Weed Sources of Potato Psyllid.” In this project Cooper will use cutting-edge technology to determine the feeding history of individual potato psyllids and their status as carriers of the zebra chip pathogen. This will lead to the identification of plant species that support this pathogen and act as point sources for outbreaks in potato fields.
  • Steven Seefeldt, of Washington State University in Mt. Vernon, was awarded $137,128 for a project entitled “Integrated Pest Management of Annual Polygonum Species in Northwest Washington Specialty Crops: Working with Plant Biology.” This project will investigate the life histories and ecology of four annual wild buckwheat species in western Washington that are detrimental to several crops, including potatoes. The goal is to discover aspects of the biology of these plants that can be targeted in carefully designed integrated pest management strategies to improve control.


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