Seedborne Pseudomonas syringae strains cause economically important leaf spot and wart diseases of cucurbit (including cantaloupe, pumpkin, squash, watermelon, and zucchini), beet, and chard food and seed crops nationwide in the US and have been reported across the globe.

The pathogens are part of a larger complex named P. syringae, a restricted group of pathogens that are closely related to the type strain of P. syringae (see Pathogen Information). The pathogens are difficult to detect and distinguish from other members of this group (see Seed Health Testing).

The overarching goal of this research is to develop economically feasible integrated management systems for diseases caused by P. syringae on cucurbits and chenopods.

Our approach will: 1) identify and utilize resistance in plant breeding and genetics; 2) develop economically feasible IPM approaches for both food and seed production; and 3) improve pathogen detection for use in seed testing and treatment programs.


Seedborne diseases of cucurbits and chenopods caused by Pseudomonas syringae

Wide-spread losses in chenopod and cucurbit food and seed crops are caused by seedborne Pseudomonas syringae.

  • Detection & quantification base on pathogen diversity
  • Reduce seed contamination & crop loss
  • Disease control & resistance
  • Knowledge sharing & mentorship
  • Financial support & match
  • Stakeholder time/expertise
  • Faculty & staff time/expertise
  • Baseline knowledge
  • Equipment & technology
  • Identify inoculum sources, understand conditions for contamination in seed production
  • Evaluate pathogen behavior and host susceptibility by crop phase
  • Develop seed testing methods, improve quality assurance, test seed treatments
  • Identify characteristics associated with disease resistance
  • Develop IPM tools and strategies to prevent/manage disease
  • Create a new area of inquiry involving resistance in duel crops (food vs seed)
  • Provide training & mentorship
  • Disseminate findings through grower meetings, conferences, fact sheets, publications, video, and online platforms
  • Initiate relationships with Native American & other seed saving organizations to gather and share disease phenotype data
  • Assess & Evaluate
  • IPM disease control and prevention strategies for food and seedcrops
  • Seed treatments
  • Diagnostic methods for pathogen detection and quantification
  • Disease resistant varieties identified or developed
  • Cost/benefit analysis of mew methods
  • Cross-disciplinary online course
  • Publications, videos, and training workshops

Detection and quantification to limit crop loss
Detection and quantification informs disease control and resistance allows for the development of seed testing protocols.

Reduced contamination of seed
Seed testing and monitoring protocols ensure the distribution of “clean” seed and verifies seed treatment efficacy. New seed treatments further limit contamination risk.

Disease control & resistance

  • Testing, trials, breeding produce disease-resistant genotypes
  • Development of economically advantageous IPM strategies and new biologicals help control disease spread and limit the damage at each crop phase

Knowledge sharing & mentorship

  • Workshops and training videos expand access to information about bacterial taxonomy and diagnostic metagenomics
  • Interdisciplinary online course and mentorships inform the next generation of researchers
  • Farm budgets and phenotype data for resistant and susceptible varieties help growers make informed decisions that will influence sustainability
  • Training of early-career faculty, postdocs, students leads to expansion of research efforts & workforce