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Bob Larson Crown Gall Disease Detection Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: August 15, 2017

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I’m Bob Larson. Studies at Oregon State University have come up with a faster way of detecting a devastating bacterium called Crown Gall disease, that can leave grotesque tumors on fruit trees and grape vines.

OSU Ag Sciences Professor Jeff Chang says they’ve adapted commercially available kits by using strips of paper to test samples drawn from the plant …

JEFF CHANG … “I’m sure most people are familiar with how home pregnancy tests work, where a urine sample is applied and you get a plus sign or no sign or a pink band or two pink bands? That’s basically what this does. So, if we amplify and there is the presence of the pathogen, a band will show up on this piece of paper. So, you can see it’s rather easy to use and it can be done in 30 minutes whereas a traditional piece test takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours.”

Chang says Crown Gall can be fatal to young plants, but more mature plants develop unsightly tumors AND become a carrier …

JEFF CHANG … “The challenge is, if a grower has that plant in his or her field or orchard, then it’s going to spread. And the other thing, if a lot of the industry, they propagate and then they sell to growers. So, if they’re selling plants that have the pathogen, they’re unwillingly spreading it to other locations.”

Chang says much like human patients, ‘an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure’ …

JEFF CHANG … “It’s all about preventative care. So, with disease management, a lot of effort goes into preventing the pathogen from even getting there. And detection is a way to quickly survey and look for its presence.”

Chang gives credit to recent OSU grad Skylar Fuller for designing the detection device under guidance from the study’s coauthors, Alexandra Weisberg and Melodie Putnam.

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