Burt Bluhm, associate professor of plant pathology for the University of Arkansas, discusses his research on molecular level interactions between plant pathogens and their hosts.

Professor Bluhm’s research focuses on the interactions between fungi and other soybean-related diseases to determine how soybeans respond. He investigates the genes involved during an interaction, in order to target and develop new sources of genetic resistance. To get an accurate description of how fungus pathogens interact with plants, the lab involves imaging and screen technology.

Once this information is gathered, a greenhouse setting is utilized to generate transgenic plants to test transgenes in the early stages to measure effectiveness.  Through the greenhouse setting, plants are inoculated to evaluate resistance responses.

“We believe genetic resistance is the front line of defense.”

The advantages of genetic resistance in soybeans includes the decreased input costs and the degree of yield stability it brings.