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Plant Industry Laboratory

Lab Plant pathologists at the Plant Industry laboratory examine and test a wide range of crops and soil to identify pathogens that cause plant diseases. These pathogens can be fungi, bacteria, viruses, phytoplasma, or nematodes. About 1,000 to 2,000 samples are processed each year, which varies with the number of planned surveys, crop certification needs and the call to respond to sudden disease outbreaks.

An integral part of the Wisconsin Pest Survey program, this laboratory also provides diagnostic and technical support to DATCP's phytosanitary certification, nursery, Christmas tree and environmental enforcement programs.

We screen for new and exotic plant disease organisms such as Asian soybean rust, potato cyst nematodes, Powdery scab, Phytophthora ramorum, Ralstonia solanacearum and Soybean dwarf virus. These pathogens are diagnosed utilizing the most current detection techniques such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) or classic plant pathology methods including microscopy.

As a first detector lab for select agents regulated under the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002, we collaborate and consult with plant pathologists at the USDA National Identification Service, University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Our Results
Diagnosis of plant diseases can take from a few days to several weeks, depending on the detection methods available. Full-length reports are published, by crop, under Crop Survey Reports.

Brief summaries of our results are published in the Wisconsin Pest Bulletin which is published weekly during the growing season..

For more information about DATCP’s Plant Industry Laboratory, contact Anette Phibbs, phone: (608) 266-7132, email: anette.phibbs@wi.gov.


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