Building a Better Biocontrol Pathogen
Understanding Virulence

glossaryBFOD spores cpllected on a seive
Spraying inoculum onto a seive to collect it
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Virulence is a measure of the 'meanness' of a pathogen, that is, its ability to kill host seeds quickly and efficiently. Our studies of variation in virulence have the goal of discovering pathogen strains that have optimal and stable virulence for effective biocontrol.

BFOD spores on the sieve


What it's about

What we did

What we found out

We have obtained isolates, produced conidial inoculum, and performed laboratory inoculation experiments with over a hundred different pathogen strains from multiple populations from all over the Intermountain West.

Pathogen strains vary widely in virulence, defined as the ability to kill rapidly germinating seeds. Some strains are slow-growing but highly virulent, whereas others are faster growing but much less virulent. Figuring out what combination of virulence and speed is optimal for biocontrol is next on the research agenda.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Susan Meyer
Co-PI: Dr. Julie Beckstead
Technical Support: Suzette Clement
Students:  Trevor Davis, Thom Stewart

Stewart TE. 2009. The grass seed pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda as a biocontrol agent for annual brome grasses. MS thesis. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Meyer SE, Stewart TE, Clement S. 2010. The quick and the deadly: growth versus virulence in a seed bank pathogen. New Phytologist 1887:209-216.

Suzette spraying conidia onto a sieve