M.S. Research: Fungicide resistance in Botrytis of ornamentals
164 Plant Biology Lab
- B.S., Microbiology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
The causative agent of gray mold, Botrytis cinerea is regarded as the second most important plant pathogen in the world. The fungus can infect hundreds of valuable crops, causing damping off, leaf spots, rots, cankers, and blights. My research focuses on the pathogen in a greenhouse setting, on ornamental plants including geranium, impatiens, pansy, and poinsettia. In the United States, Michigan is a top producer of major floriculture crops, with a total wholesale value of $398 million in 2015. Growers are required to put a significant amount of energy and money into gray mold disease management, because even the smallest amount of plant damage reduces its salability. Fungicides are the most heavily relied on form of disease control, but resistance in Botrytis populations is common due to its flexible genetic nature, high fecundity, and ability to survive as a saprophyte. I am currently evaluating fungicide resistance in Botrytis collected from ornamental greenhouses throughout Michigan. Ultimately, this project aims to provide growers with tools to better control gray mold.