Building a Better Biocontrol Pathogen
Virulence is a measure of the 'meanness' of a pathogen, that is, its ability to kill host seeds quickly and efficiently. Our studies of variation in virulence have the goal of discovering pathogen strains that have optimal and stable virulence for effective biocontrol.
What it's about
What we did
What we found out
We have obtained isolates, produced conidial inoculum, and performed laboratory inoculation experiments with over a hundred different pathogen strains from multiple populations from all over the Intermountain West.
Pathogen strains vary widely in virulence, defined as the ability to kill rapidly germinating seeds. Some strains are slow-growing but highly virulent, whereas others are faster growing but much less virulent. Figuring out what combination of virulence and speed is optimal for biocontrol is next on the research agenda.
Stewart TE. 2009. The grass seed pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda as a biocontrol agent for annual brome grasses. MS thesis. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
Meyer SE, Stewart TE, Clement S. 2010. The quick and the deadly: growth versus virulence in a seed bank pathogen. New Phytologist 1887:209-216.