Weekly post by Darion Alexander

Hello Dr. Mukhtar and all Outpacers, it is safe to say that this first week has been full of interesting, exciting, and fun objectives. I am looking forward to learning the different discoveries that display with Plant Pathology. We have learned so much already and it makes you that much more excited about the future. It has been really great working with all of you. This week was basically a summary of what we will be learning about and it gave us the basics of what we needed to know.
Monday (June 2, 2014) was a brief overview of the program that gave the initial assessment. We also gave students expectations for the program.
Tuesday (June 3, 2014) we really began to get into it in depth with our lecture. We talked about viruses, bacteria, fungi and oomyctes. We discuss what makes a successful pathogen and all the tactics it uses to try and trick the plant. First, a pathogen must find the host and attach to it. Next the pathogen tries to gain entry through the plant’s impermeable defenses. Then, it must avoid the plant’s defenses responses. Once this is done the pathogen starts growth and response. Finally the pathogen will begin to spread. Many bacteria produce biofilms, or penetrate through wounds, stomata, and hydathodes. Some pathogens physically pierce the plant tissues or use enzymes to digest cell walls.
On Wednesday (June 4, 2014) we were able to do a very cool lab with the different types of bacteria and see first hand how the single strand, double strand, triple strand bacteria work. We had another unique lecture where we discussed Necrotrophs, Biotrophs, Hemibiotrophs. Necrotrophs kill cells and then consume the contents. Biotrophs live within the host tissue without causing death. This unique pathogen tries to trick the plants as if there is nothing wrong with it. Hemibiotroph can switch from biotroph to nectrotroph. We talked about Hypersensitive Response. Also in the lab we talked about Broth. Broth is a large growth of bacteria in a small space.
On Thursday (June 5, 2014) we had an amazing trip to the UAB Community Gardens and had a chance to meet Dr. Julie Price and other growers. We observed many different viruses, bacteria, fungi and mildew. We had the chance to see the Leaf Ringspot Virus. Usually with the Rinspot Virus one side of the leaf looks more healthier than the other side. Also it almost creates a pattern on the veins of the plant. We saw the Beam Mosaic Virus. The Leaf Curl Virus was present at the garden. We also saw the Yellow Speck disease.
On Friday (June 6, 2014) we had an awesome lab preparing growth media for pathogenic strains anticipated in the gardens. We had YPD Medium, YDC Medium, and V8 Medium. All and all it was a great week full of fun and learning!!!!
Here are some pics from the Gardens that I found most intriguing:imageMildew on a cucumber plant

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This is a great picture of the insect babies or eggs getting attached to the plant. Focus on the red dots.

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This is a great example of a plant getting overtaken by Mildew. You can see all the white on the plant.

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