With the next generation seeing world population swell from 7 to 9 billion people, how will we sustainably increase our food, fiber and fuels using less land and fewer resources? One word: plants.
Healthy plants are the key to living in harmony with our planet. But when disease strikes a plant, disaster can quickly follow. That’s why plant pathologists, or plant doctors, can literally mean the difference between feast and famine.
“Plant Pathology is a field central to our ability to feed ourselves, the world, and maintain food security and safety,” said Dr. Leland S. (Sandy) Pierson, department head of plant pathology and microbiology. “Regardless of the approaches used to increase agricultural and horticultural output, plant diseases will always be a threat to successful food production, resulting in reduced yields and quality.”
Learn how plant pathologists are feeding our world, protecting our environment, and improving our health.
Dr. Pierson went on to say, “In addition to plant pathogens already present, new exotic pathogens are constantly being introduced for which no controls are available currently. Finally, the battle between plant pathologists and pathogens never ends, as pathogens are constantly evolving ways to overcome current control methods. Our faculty study the range of areas from molecular biology of microorganisms and plants to field- applied approaches to understand plant-microbe interactions and control plant health and disease. Faculty work on a variety of relevant issues, including mycotoxins and pathogens important in food safety to insect-vectored pathogens causing disease on citrus, corn, wheat, potato, rice, vegetables, turf and many other crops. Faculty also focus on microbial pathogenicity factors which cause disease and how plant innate immune responses recognize and combat these pathogens.”
The department of plant pathology and microbiology (PLPM) encompasses an undergraduate bioenvironmental sciences (BESC) degree and a graduate plant pathology degree. For more information, please see our departmental website at http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/.