Botany & Plant Pathology

Plant scientists maintain critical research to save data and irreplaceable plants

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

The College of Agriculture accounted for more than a third of Purdue researchers who asked for access and support to continue critical research when facilities closed this spring.

With about 15 wiliwili trees in the Lilly Greenhouses, and only 150 left in the wild after an insect pest decimated its population, Purdue oversees an important concentration of this deciduous tree native to Hawaii. Scott McAdam, assistant professor of botany and plant pathology, has been growing the trees for three years.

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Trees in forest


Ear of Maize

Slivers of land could power cheaper, greener nitrogen fertilizers

Monday, May 11th, 2020 University News Story

Nitrogen-based fertilizer contributes to the high yields expected from crops in the developed world, but its high use also damages nearby waters and ecosystems. Conversely, developing countries that most need yield improvements face bottlenecks in gett…

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Expanding opportunities, access, support key parts of graduate partnership

Monday, May 11th, 2020 University News Story

When Kyle Dahlin started his master’s degree at Purdue University in August 2013, he knew he would need a network to help support him far away from his home in Hawaii.

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3 Award Winners

Award-winning College of Agriculture mentors follow in others’ footsteps — and leave imprints of their own

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

The College of Agriculture’s outstanding student mentors and teaching assistant have one thing in common: Each benefited from impactful mentoring along their own paths to academic and personal success.

MS student Liz Alexander and PhD student Samira Fatemi are recipients of the 2020 Pathmaker Awards, sponsored by the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association to recognize effective mentoring of undergraduate researchers-in-training and fellow graduate students. PhD candidate Jon Knott has been named the College of Agriculture’s 2020 Outstanding Teaching Assistant. Here, each award winner shares insights into the benefits of mentoring, both to their mentees and to themselves.

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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

Jennifer Fishburn Header

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 Banner

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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