Researchers developed a forecast tool to determine which areas have the highest probability of a large rangeland fire.
Plant Diseases Hide Where They're Least Expected
One of the greatest threats to plants is invasive pathogens, disease-causing microbes that come from outside a local ecosystem. To help combat this challenge, researchers at the ARS Foreign Disease Weed Science Research Unit in Fort Detrick, MD, set out to examine how invasive pathogens could travel and spread. Port inspectors and others who protect our nation’s borders already check many plants for known pathogens. However, the researchers suspected that some pathogens slip through because they are hidden in unexpected places, such as in plants that do not show any disease symptoms or visible signs of the pathogen.
To test this idea, researchers isolated microbes from rhododendron plants growing in native stands that looked healthy. Using DNA sequencing methods to identify the microbes, the researchers discovered that several microbes recovered from the native rhododendron plants are known pathogens of other plants. These results confirmed that pathogens can evade detection by living as “endophytes” in plants that show no disease symptoms. In making this discovery, the researchers highlighted a major gap in current plant protection policies, and a potential opportunity for improving those policies.
Explore Other Discoveries
Predicting High-Risk Areas for Wildfires
Building a Better Honey Bee
ARS researchers are studying genetics and breeding to make honey bees more resilient.
Long Term Honey Bee Research Monitoring Network
A long-term honey bee monitoring network helps researchers to better understand colony performance and survivorship over multiple seasons.
Screening to Breed Superior Cotton
Scientists are producing new strains of cotton that offer both quality and abundance.
Improved Fall Planting Options
ARS researchers recently developed and released three new pea cultivars that can be grown in the cooler months.
Helping Farmers in South America
Scientists investigated practices that might help smallholder farmers increase sustainability of their lands and adapt to a changing climate.
How Healthy is Your Soil?
Researchers have developed a new, easier way to find the answer to the question, "How much carbon is stored in soil?"
Beneficial Wasp May Put Sting in Fruit Pest
ARS and University of California-Berkeley scientists are evaluating the potential of a parasitoid wasp to control the fruit fly, spotted wing drosophila.
Genes That Keep Tomatoes Fresher
Scientists have identified a tomato gene that's responsible for the softening process in the fruit as it matures, and found a way to inhibit the gene, keeping tomatoes firmer, longer.
Sweetpotato Varieties Fight Pests
In recent years, farmers in the southeastern United States have struggled with the invasive guava root-knot nematode.