Science Market Update

$2.3M Project to Beat Downy Mildew Led by MSU Researchers

Posted by Laura Braden on Mon, Jun 13, 2016

Vegetables. Downy mildew, a fungus-like pathogen, is a major threat to crops around the country. Cucurbit crops like squash, cucumber, and melons suffered from a downy mildew outbreak in 2004 that initially only affected crops in the southeastern United States but later spread throughout the Midwestern region, and is still affecting these foods today. Michigan is a state where crops are greatly affected by downy mildew. A team of researchers from Michigan State University will be leading a $2.3 million project, granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to develop methods to manage downy mildew. (Image courtesy of Kerstin Ellen Hantschel via Wikimedia Commons)

Led by Mary Hausbeck from the MSU department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, the Michigan research team will collaborate with researchers from 7 other U.S. institutions to create new methods to manage the spread and outbreak of downy mildew, which has become resistant to many of the different fungicides over the years.

The 7 other institutions involved in this project are: 

  • The University of Florida
  • Oregon State University 
  • Rutgers University, NJ
  • Cornell University
  • California State University 
  • North Carolina State University 
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service

Scientists from these different institutions have a wide range of research areas including plant pathologists, plant breeders, social scientists, and economists. These researchers will benefit from recent advances in the fields of genomics and molecular biology that will allow them to design new diagnostic tools to use in identifying and tracking the spread of the downy mildew pathogen. The researchers will be focusing on creating methods that can detect the presence of the pathogen early, while it is still in the air, and is not yet a problem.

Along with creating new methods of combating the mildew, the plant breeders will work to develop new varieties of some of the most severely threatened crops (such as cucumbers, basil, and spinach) that will be resistant to the pathogen.

Dr. Hausbeck explained that: “By sharing our expertise, we’re going to have a team capable of addressing the various aspects of this pathogen, rather than each of us working by ourselves. We want to provide growers with better diagnostic tools and management strategies that will reduce the risk of downy mildew and improve the security of these crops. I know we can improve what we’ve been doing, and these new resources and the expertise of this team will let us do that.”

The University of Michigan in East Lansing. (Michigan State University image courtesy of Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.)

Michigan State University is a multimillion dollar research marketplace. 

In the 2015 fiscal year, the university received more than $49.7 million in funding from the NIH, which additional grants and donations being received from other public and private donors. This funding helps the university establish new research buildings and provides researchers with the needed funding to conduct ground-breaking research projects. Read the articles below to learn more about the research products at Michigan State University that are benefiting from this funding: 

MSU Constructing New $15 Million Research Building

MSU Biochemist Studies Obesity Paradox in Yeast

Regenerating Bones at Michigan State University

MSU Group Builds a Better Toxin Receptor

Interested in marketing lab products and supplies to active life science researchers in the well-funded MSU marketplace? If so, exhibit at the upcoming BioResearch Product Faire™ Event in East Lansing coming up on July 27, 2016. This event brings together hundreds of life science suppliers with researchers, PI's, grad students, lab managers, professors, purchasing agents and other lab staff interested in finding the best and newest equipment and technologies to use in their lab. The 2015 event saw more than 220 attendees from 19 different research buildings and 29 on-campus departments. 

The 6th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at Michigan State University will be held on July 27, 2016. To learn more about participating in this event, visit the following link: 

Learn More About MSU Event


Researchers from Michigan State University interested in discovering the best and newest tools and technologies available to use in their labs are encouraged to attend this upcoming event. Visit the link below to learn more, and to pre-register (saving you time on the day of the event): 

Researchers Attend MSU Event


Tags: Michigan State University, Midwest, agriculture, new research funding, MI, East Lansing, MSU, 2016, BioResearch Product Faire, vegetable crops, downy mildew

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