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Chris Smart research
Chris Smart discussing research on Phytophthora blight

The Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology addresses disease issues of fresh market and processing vegetables with the ultimate goal of strengthening New York State's agricultural industry.

Faculty, staff, and students are heavily involved in disease and pathogen diagnosis and dissemination of management recommendations. The Department's many diverse extension activities are a result of faculty and staff's collective knowledge of a wide range of pathogen groups and plant species. The team of faculty working on vegetable diseases includes:

Faculty and staff collaborate with plant breeders to identify and incorporate genetic resistance for numerous diseases affecting vegetables, and they report disease occurrences for the national tracking of pathogen spread for Downy Mildew and Late Blight. Real-time data availability helps growers make accurate and timely decisions regarding preventative measures they may be able to take. 

Other diseases are harder to predict and can vary annually, such as:

  • viruses and bacterial diseases of cucurbits, including Angular and Bacterial leaf spot
  • bacterial diseases of tomato, primarily canker, speck, and spot
  • bacterial diseases of onion