2016 Report: Practical Course for Diagnostics of Plant Pathogens

19 Oct 2016

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A one day course on the practical diagnostics of plant pathogens was held on 3rd October 2016. The practical day was organised by Fay Newbery and Gerard Clover at RHS Wisley under the auspices of the BSPP which continues to promote knowledge of practical diagnostics in plant pathology.

Fourteen participants including post graduates and post doctoral scientists (from NIAB, EMR, PGRO, Rothamsted Research, Harper Adams, Reading and Warwick universities) attended this course.

The course began with a review of symptoms and the possible causes for these, using strategies laid out in the recently published Plantwise Diagnostic Field Guide. See https://www.plantwise.org/about-plantwise/publications/diagnostic-field-guide/.

This was followed by a practical introduction to the major disease causing groups and the most frequently used diagnostic tools: hand lenses, penknives, dissection and compound microscopes, lateral flow devices and dip stick test kits. Participants also had the opportunity to use sellotape strips to "capture" pathogens in situ from leaves for examination under the microscope. Bacterial streaming was also demonstrated for the participants. A garden walk highlighted the presence of numerous plant diseases and provided more material for examination. Resource people included Phil Taylor (CABI), Paul Beales (APHA), Fay Newbery (RHS Wisley), Jassy Drakulic (RHS Wisley) and Julie Flood (CABI)

Evaluation forms distributed at the end of the day indicated that all the participants found the course worthwhile and would recommend it to others. It is hoped that this one day course could be repeated in another region of the country next year.

Fay Newbery

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