Development of Inquiry-Based Lab Activities with Pathogens of Wisconsin Fast Plants

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Poster Presentation

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Wisconsin Fast Plants® (WFP) are a rapid-cycling species of Brassica rapa and members of the Brassicaceae family. Fast Plants serve as an important research tool for improving disease resistance and are an ideal model organism to utilize in science teaching and learning. Two disease systems known to impact New York growers were investigated. Black rot disease is caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc), a bacterial pathogen that is generally considered the most significant disease of brassica crops. The pathogen can spread through infested seeds and transplants or plant-to-plant from insect wounds or water droplets. As completely pathogen-free planting material can be hard to obtain, hot water treatment of seeds can help. This will greatly reduce, but not always eliminate, bacteria in or on the seeds, and it may reduce seed viability and seedling vigor. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a fungus that causes white mold disease of hundreds of plant species, including WFP. White mold is a soil-borne disease that can develop into a serious and persistent problem when it becomes established in a field. Strains of Coniothyrium minitans can be used as a parasitic bio-fungicide against S. sclerotiorum. Objectives for this research included: establishment of methodology for creating disease in the laboratory setting on WFP using black rot and white mold, development of a lab activity investigating seed transmission and control of black rot disease, development of a lab activity exploring the use of biological controls of white mold.


Presented at the Annual Fall Scientific Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Science, in Rochester, New York, November 7, 2015.

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