A new Texas High Plains Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory will be housed in the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo.
Dr. Ken Obasa, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist, is in charge of the lab and has spent the past six months building it to the national network standards.
Obasa, who started this position in late September, brought experience with plant pathogens and multiple crop species, including cowpea, corn, rice, soybean, turfgrass and sugar beets. His program in Amarillo is designed to address ongoing and emerging disease issues in a wide variety of crops.
With the new lab comes new testing methods, especially for bacterial and fungal pathogens. Additionally, mycotoxin analysis and genetically modified organism, or GMO, test services are available. Obasa said he also can test urban plants for disease-related issues, but his primary focus will be on crops.
Another service offered is seed testing for a fee of $50 per sample batch per pathogen. A single sample batch must include 300-500 seeds.
There is a $35 routine diagnostic charge that covers bacterial and fungal testing. This is for triage, microscopy, culturing and other basic tests as necessary, as well as diagnostic reports and management suggestions, he said.
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