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The Plant Pathology Department at NDSU has research projects on the important diseases of major crops. Research projects cover root rots, head blights, foliar diseases, stem rust, leaf rust and viruses of cereals as well as diseases of canola, dry edible beans, flax, potatoes, soybeans, sugar beets, sunflowers, urban forestry and shelter belts.

The faculty has expertise in host-parasite genetics, microbiological ecology, epidemiology, tissue culture, molecular biology, genetic resistance, nematology, bacteriology, mycology, virology and electron microscopy. The Plant Pathology Department faculty has been successful in developing management practices and controls for major diseases.

NDSU plant pathologists are constantly improving control programs to meet market demands, address environmental concerns and apply new technologies. With plant breeders, pathologists find disease resistant genetic materials from domesticated and wild varieties worldwide. New biotechnology techniques help them to quickly incorporate genetic resistance into crop varieties.

Plant pathologists seek safer and more effective pesticides, including biological controls, to protect crops until adequate genetic resistance is available. Plant pathologists also examine cultural techniques that reduce disease threats.