Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome to the Plant Diagnostic Clinic.

We'd like to use our first blog post to familiarize our followers with the TREC Plant Diagnostic Clinic, located at the University of Florida Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, FL. Our clinic is responsible for the diagnosis of diseased plant samples submitted from southern Florida. We get an average of 16 samples every week, 95% of which are diseases or insect problems from ornamental plants. This year we have already diagnosed 619 samples!

So who can use the services we provide? Anyone can. While most of our clients are commercial growers and nurseries, we also help homeowners, extension agents, and researchers.

The clinic is run by Dr. Aaron Palmateer, who is supported by several staff members: Ian Maguire, Tara Tarnowski, and Jill Ploetz. Also, several TREC faculty are affiliated with the diagnostic clinic. Diseases of vegetables are diagnosed by Dr. Shouan Zhang. Ornamental plant samples affected by insect pests are diagnosed by Dr. Catherine Mannion. Insect samples from vegetable crops are diagnosed by Dr. Dak Seal and Dr. Jorge Peña diagnoses insect pests associate with tropical fruits.

In addition to diagnostics, we have an ornamental pathology research program. Right now we have several projects in the works, including investigating environmental factors influencing Eugenia dieback caused by Neofusicoccum parvum, chemical trials to identify products to manage an array of diseases, and developing rapid and easy diagnostic tests using molecular tools.

In this blog we will keep you updated on new developments in the clinic, as well provide posts on our "Disease of the Month".

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