Forest Health Protection
1720 Peachtree Road, NW
Room 816 N
Atlanta, GA 30309
Phone: (404) 347-7478
Fax: (404) 347-1880
Resistance Screening Center
The Resistance Screening
Center evaluates seedling materials for resistance to disease - primarily
fusiform rust and pitch canker as a service to tree improvement specialists,
seed orchard managers, scientists, and others in government agencies,
research institutions, and private industry. Testing enables clients to
obtain information on the relative resistance of their materials, in much
less time than is possible in field progeny tests. By using information
from these tests, trees producing disease resistant progeny are identified.
in 1973 to meet the threat of fusiform rust.
resistance screening procedures developed as disease problems increased
or changed. (Pitch canker disease, pitch canker seed fungi, chestnut
blight, dogwood anthracnose, butternut canker decline, brown spot
needle blight, white pine blister rust, specific gravity.)
seedlots have been screened and millions of seedlings evaluated for
disease resistance over the years.
- An Ad Hoc Technical
steering committee meets every 1-2 years to review current testing procedures
and make recommendations for future direction.
- Pine seed are germinated, transplanted, and grown under optimum
greenhouse conditions for inoculation. Pine plants may also be provided
by the client in the form of somatic embryogenesis plants, clonal
plants, or rooted cuttings. At the same time, the fungus is cultivated
by germinating, transplanting, inoculating the alternate host, and
harvesting basidiospores. Pine seedlings are then inoculated using
a controlled basidiospore suspension system. After incubation and
continued maintenance in the greenhouse, seedlings are evaluated for
relative resistance. Results are available to clients in less than
one year. This service is available for a fee.
- Pine seed or plants provided by the client are germinated, transplanted,
and grown under optimum greenhouse conditions for inoculation. The
fungus is cultured in the laboratory for spore production. At inoculation,
seedlings are decapitated and inoculated with a spray suspension.
After incubation and maintenance in the greenhouse, seedlings are
evaluated for relative resistance. Results are available to clients
in less than one year. This service is available for a fee and currently
includes CAMCORE, Rayonier Company, SAPPI, and WGFTP as clients.
Seed Fungi Screening
for Pitch Canker Disease- Seed are screened in a laboratory environment
for the presence of pitch canker disease. Clients using this service
are involved in providing seed to foreign countries, which will only
accept disease free seed.
- Greenhouse screening techniques have been developed and evaluated
on American chestnut, Chinese chestnut, crosses and backcrosses of
the same. This is in cooperation with TACF and the SRS.
- Field plantings have been installed and have been evaluated for
canker development. Natural planting sites have been identified and
are being evaluated for growth, disease incidence and severity, and
nut production. These studies are in cooperation with the University
of Tennessee, SRS, and the NFS.
- Screening techniques are available to screen for Discula distructiva.
Testing - Laboratory determinations of specific gravity on superior
tree candidates are available for the NFS Tree Improvement Program.
The Center is
operated by a staff of three technicians and the work load is planned
accordingly with a minimal budget. Fees for service supplement the
purchase of supplies and maintenance.
The RSC has the
flexibility to modify current screening procedures to accommodate
specialized requests. This allows researchers to use the RSC as an
additional experimental tool.
In a research
assistance capacity, the RSC has played an important role in newly
developed understanding of genetic interactions in the pine-fusiform
rust pathosystem and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
By using information
from the Resistance Screening Center tests, trees producing resistant
progeny can be identified or questions may be answered concerning
such things as the nature of pathogen variation or the effectiveness
- The RSC remains
open to service screening work or research endeavors in an effort to
improve forest health.
Since it's beginning,
the RSC has screened nearly 15,000 seedlots and evaluated over 1.8 million
seedlings. The Center's flexibility in adapting or modifying its standard
test design to accommodate client requests allows it to continue as a
valuable tool for tree improvement researchers, scientists, and industry.
With support and direction from the Resistance Screening Center Steering
Committee, the Center will continue to operate and contribute to the tree
USDA Forest Service
Resistance Screening Center
1579 Brevard Road
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-667-5089 ext 102