Botany & Plant Pathology

From the lab to the laptop: How College of Agriculture professors are pivoting to virtual classrooms

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

In many ways, attending in-person university lectures is a great equalizer, John “Barny” Dunning, Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) professor observed.

“In the face-to-face format, I get three chances a week to remind students of critical deadlines, upcoming activities and impart crucial information. Of course, students don’t get that information if they don’t come to class, but then it is their fault,” Dunning said.

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Individuals recognized for outstanding service at Indiana Horticultural Conference and Expo

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 University News Story

Each year, the Indiana Horticultural Conference and Expo (IHC) offers attendees expertise, networking opportunities and resources on all topics surrounding horticulture. Eight individuals were honored for their past contributions and long-standing comm…

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Friend or Fungi? The complex relationship between fungi and climate change

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

The relationship between fungi and climate change is somewhat of a paradox, according to Cathie Aime, professor of botany and plant pathology, but that’s in keeping with these enigmatic and often misunderstood organisms.

As climate change radically alters global landscapes and ecosystems, fungi that are damaging to crops and threaten agricultural industries can become more prevalent. A recent example of this is the fungus that causes coffee rust (Hemileia vastarix), which has devastated coffee crops and the industry in Columbia and Central America and destroyed the livelihoods of millions throughout Latin America. An increase in temperatures, rainfall and extreme weather events, conditions favored by this fungus, accelerated the epidemic.

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Purdue study finds signal cascade that keeps plant stem cells active

Thursday, March 5th, 2020 University News Story

Pools of stem cells in the apical meristems of plants are key to continued growth and development. Understanding how these stem cells are maintained and balanced against differentiated cells could lead to methods for increasing crop yield and biomass.

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Purdue Extension resources for Hoosier fruit, vegetable growers

Friday, January 31st, 2020 University News Story

Three updated resources from Purdue Extension will help Indiana fruit and vegetable growers stay on top of the latest crop management strategies and research.

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Various images from the years top stories

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Program helps home-schoolers learn about agricultural sciences

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

by Sheradan Hill Twenty students from ages 8 to 14 gathered in a classroom last spring buzzing with excitement. They evaluated the bacteria growing in the petri dishes they prepared at their last session. “I swabbed the bathroom door handle!” one exclaimed just before their instructor, Jennifer Fishburn, called them to attention. For several months,…

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A Corn Leaf with Tar Spot

New field crops pathologist hits the ground running

Friday, December 6th, 2019

By Chad Campbell “The hardest part for me,” said Darcy Telenko, “is being from a farm and knowing the impact. Knowing what it feels like when a farmer had a great crop, and a new disease emerges that impacts the final harvest and their bottom line. When talking about tar spot, I am honest with…

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Graduate Ag Research Spotlight: Josh Kraft

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

JOSH KRAFT “One of the interesting things about plants is how they deal with different stressors in their environments. They can’t just leave when things get uncomfortable.” — Joshua Kraft, PhD student, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology   THE STUDENT After graduating from high school in his hometown of West Lafayette, Josh Kraft went…

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Purdue receives first USDA grant to study organic hemp production

Monday, October 28th, 2019 University News Story

When the 2018 Farm Bill legalized production of hemp, the deluge of phone calls from potential growers to scientists and state administrators quickly made it clear how little information is available for those hoping to plant the crop.

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Indiana is one of the country’s top pumpkin growers. Also, another name for Jack o’ Lantern is Hinkypunk.

Friday, October 25th, 2019

By Emma Ea Ambrose  Hinkypunks. Hobby lanterns. Fairy lights. Corpse candles. Fool’s fire. All of these whimsical names, which originated in Ireland, once referred to the other-worldly lights of evil spirits that would appear in the night above bogs and swamplands. Centuries before science would explain away these ethereal flares as the ignition of decomposing…

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Scientists develop efficient methods to turn woody biomass into fuels

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 University News Story

Increasing production of second-generation biofuels – those made from non-food biomass such as switchgrass, biomass sorghum, and corn stover – would lessen our reliance on burning fossil fuels, which contributes to climate change.

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Purdue scientist sending tomatoes into space to study plant defense

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

By Brian Wallheimer Any trip to Mars, likely to take a year or longer, will require astronauts to grow at least some of their own food along the way since it can cost $10,000 to send a pound of anything just as far as Earth’s orbit. Astronauts will need the nutrients provided by fruits, leafy…

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Ethan Smiley working in the Lab

Wrestling and plant genetics a perfect pair for student

Monday, September 30th, 2019

By Chad Campbell Ethan Smiley always looked forward to his science classes, but with a police officer for a father, a nurse for a mother and an older brother in law school, a career in agriculture never crossed his mind. If not for Purdue, Ethan Smiley says he never would have considered a career in…

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Marked tree in the woods

Ag scientist next in line to continue decades-long forest research

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

Gordon McNickle and Morgan Ritzi at the Ross reserve. Photo by Tom Campbell By Brian Wallheimer Gordon McNickle uses game theory to understand forest dynamics, from the ways in which a single plant might compete against its neighbors for resources to the complex interactions among hundreds or thousands of plants in an ecosystem. The equations…

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New technology for protein complex discovery holds promise for biotechnology and crop improvement

Thursday, August 1st, 2019 University News Story

Living cells survive and adapt by forming stable protein complexes that allow them to modulate protein activity, do mechanical work and convert signals into predictable responses, but identifying the proteins in those complexes is technically challengi…

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Triple major is in a league of his own

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

By Cheyenne Dunn Every morning Alex Angel wakes up at 6 a.m. Before heading out the door for his first class, he thinks about his schedule for the day. Classes all morning. A lab and a meeting with his advisor in the afternoon. Two club meetings in the evening. As busy as he is, he…

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Champions Cultivate the Future

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

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How one fern can soak up so much arsenic – and not die

Thursday, May 16th, 2019 University News Story

Arsenic-contaminated soil and groundwater pose risks to millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Cleaning up the toxic metal is a laborious and expensive process, with some remediations of arsenic reaching into the hundreds o…

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In the weeds: A new approach to keeping crops, people safe

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 University News Story

Weeds cause tremendous damage in yield and productivity of crop plants. Losses from weeds account for more than $40 billion in annual revenue for corn and soybean crops alone in North America, according to the Weed Science Society of America.

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