PLANT PATHOLOGY

Research on Plant Pathology is centred on studies on fungal pathogens with emphasis on three fungal groups namely, Fusarium, Colletotricum and Ganoderma. Research conducted by this group covers aspects of pathogen biology, disease diagnosis, plant disease epidemiology, and disease control methods, on a diverse range of crops (vegetable crops, fruits, ornamentals and industrial crops). Plant tissue culture and molecular biology techniques are also incorporated in some of the studies. Fusarium - Research conducted emphasized on the ecology and taxonomy (both traditional and molecular) of Fusaria collected in Southeast Asia. A culture collection unit has been established since 1981. Approximately 4,500 isolates comprising 27 species from Southeast Asia have been isolated, identifi ed, catalogued and stored in liquid nitrogen at -80 oC, as well as in sterile soil. This is the biggest collection of Fusarium life cultures in Southeast Asia Colletotrichum - Research on this fungal group has just been started very recently, emphasizing on diseases caused by Colletotrichum spp. (i.e. anthracnose diseases), their symptom, host range, pathogenicity, taxonomy and molecular aspects. Molecular studies are undertaken to clarify the relationship between species, which are poorly distinguished by their morphology. This is very important because an understanding of the identity and genetic complexity of a pathogen infecting a particular host is essential for effective disease management strategies.

Ganoderma - Research interests are centered on genetic diversity of the pathogens on different hosts such as oil palm, coconut stumps, rubber and forest trees using morphological and molecular characteristics, to determine their variability and to establish the relationship between Ganoderma from different hosts.