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Spotlight

Cucurbit vegetables grown in the U.S., namely watermelon, cucumber, squash, pumpkin and muskmelon, are worth $1.35 billion. Faculty at Penn State in collaboration with 16 other universities will utilize funding awarded by the 2018 USDA Specialty Crop Multi-State Program to monitor and forecast cucurbit downy mildew (CDM) over the next three years.

Biocontrol has long been touted as a safer alternative to synthetic pesticides for both, farmworker safety and the environment. However, inconsistent efficacy has hampered its wide adoption for disease management. To address this issue, faculty at Penn State are leading a project, funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. Their focus is on generating critical knowledge and resources needed to develop and deploy reliable biocontrol strategies that can help protect tomato production from Fusarium wilt, an increasingly problematic soilborne disease.

Emma Rosenthal, a doctoral student in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, will be able to advance her research interests in plant pathology after receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation.