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New Technology Makes Oak Wilt Detection Faster, More Affordable

Oak wilt fungus is an invasive plant pathogen that often goes unnoticed, until it’s too late. Not anymore. New technology developed by University of Minnesota (UMN) College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences offers a simple, affordable diagnostic test utilizing nanotechnology and gold.

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that some 266,000 oak trees in Minnesota were infected by oak wilt fungus between 2007 and 2016, making oak wilt the second greatest invasive disease threat to the state’s plants. There are currently only two ways to detect the disease: visually – two or three weeks after infection onset – or with lab tests, that may take weeks to complete and cost up to $120 per sample. UMN’s new hand-held reader can detect the disease within 30 minutes at a cost of $5 per sample.

NIFA supports this project through Hatch funding.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products;
Agriculture systems and technology
U.S. States and Territories
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