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SIPS pathologist travels to China to share insights on cucurbit disease management

Meg McGrath in China 2019SIPS plant pathologist Meg McGrath recently was invited to the Zhengzhou Fruit Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, in Henan Province, China, to give a seminar, meet with students, and visit farms.  Her 2-hour seminar on “30 Years of Research Helping Farmers Manage Diseases of Cucurbits” was followed by short presentations by Chinese researchers for a “Melon and Watermelon Training Session”.

The focus of McGrath’s talk was powdery mildew, an important disease in China as well as the US. She described her research investigating occurrence and impact of fungicide resistance, a major challenge to effectively managing this disease. An important outcome of this research is detection of pathogen isolates with resistance to multiple fungicide chemistries. Unlikelihood of their development is the premise behind the standard recommendation to alternate among fungicide chemistries to manage resistance. She also covered her research on evaluating resistant cultivars and monitoring pathogen race occurrence. Research on managing downy mildew and Phytophthora blight were also presented.

Several virus diseases are plaguing melon crops in China, which McGrath learned about during farm visits.

McGrath is an Associate Professor in the SIPS Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section. Located at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center (LIHREC) in Riverhead Long Island, her research and extension activities are focused on managing diseases affecting vegetables grown on Long Island within organic and conventional production systems.

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