Early detection of invasive tree disease
Robert Blanchette, Plant Pathology
Heterobasidion Root Disease (HRD, also called annosum root rot) is an invasive tree disease that poses a serious threat to Minnesota’s pines and other conifers. The first and only confirmed detection of HRD in the state occurred in 2014 in Winona County, but the disease was quickly eradicated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
HRD spreads through windborne spores. Oftentimes, these windborne pathogens are only detected after being established in an area for some time. Molecular “biosurveillance” tools can use DNA technology to help detect forest diseases before they establish. This project will begin the development of such molecular biosurveillance tools for HRD and other priority invasive pathogens and facilitate early detection across the state.
What is the best way to trap windborne fungal spores for molecular testing?
Where are HRD and other invasive tree diseases detected in Minnesota?
This work will establish a new and effective biosurveillance monitoring program for the early detection of tree diseases in Minnesota.
National Plant Diagnostic Network, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Health, USDA Forest Service
Robert Blanchette, principal investigator
Benjamin Held, co-investigator
Brett Arenz, co-investigator