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Biological control of invasive weeds: exploiting emerging and foreign plant pathogens for invasive weed management
Invasive weeds impede crop health, agricultural productivity, and forage plant communities, harbor agricultural pests and pathogens, degrade pollinator habitats, deplete water resources, and promote costly flood and wildfire events. Overall, invasive plants directly cost the U.S. $25 billion in losses and damages, and an additional $10 billion in control costs, annually. This presentation will provide an overview of the plant pathology research that is being performed at the USDA-ARS Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit located at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD, and discuss several emerging pathogens of Mid-Atlantic invasive weeds and regulatory aspects associated with approving microbial-based biological control agents.
Matthew Tancos is a Research Plant Pathologist with United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) located at the Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit in Fort Detrick, Maryland. He received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology & Plant Microbe Biology from Cornell University. Matthew then researched the bacterial plant pathogen select agent, Rathayibacter toxicus, while a USDA-ARS postdoctoral researcher. Matthew’s research program is currently investigating the use of plant pathogens as biological control agents to manage invasive weeds in the United States, characterizing pathogen emergence and evolution in our agroecosystems, and investigating novel molecular-based invasive weed management strategies.
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