Indigenous knowledge - the lost...
 Faculty, staff, students, alumni,...
 Farewell note by: Dr. Bob Kemerait,...
 Mushroom sale 2000
 Interview with a student

Group Title: PLP news
Title: PLP news. Volume 4, Issue 2. February/March, 2000.
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00067320/00013
 Material Information
Title: PLP news. Volume 4, Issue 2. February/March, 2000.
Series Title: PLP news
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Plant Pathology Department, IFAS, University of Florida
Affiliation: University of Florida -- College of Agricultural and Life Sciences -- Plant Pathology Department -- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: Plant Pathology Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date: 2000
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00067320
Volume ID: VID00013
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Indigenous knowledge - the lost art of learning through listening
        Page 1
    Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and colleagues of our department
        Page 2
    Farewell note by: Dr. Bob Kemerait, Jr.
        Page 3
    Mushroom sale 2000
        Page 4
    Interview with a student
        Page 5
        Page 6
Full Text


* Mushroom Sale A Graduate Student Interview
* Bob's Good-bye


The Nesletter of
the Plant P' '
Volume 4 Issue 2
February/ March 2000

Indigenous Knowledge-The Lost

Art of Learning Through Listening

By Misty Niesen

Come out of the lab with me-
c'mon....just put down the beaker and
come outside, I have something to show
you. Look- it's the great outdoors -you
do remember what the sky looks like
don't you? What??! You didn't remember
there WAS an outside world? Well, it's
truly a shame most of us are too deeply
entrenched in labs to notice what the
outside world still has to offer.

" The extinction of corn or wheat
would have a lot greater impact on our
culture than the extinction of the ele-
phant or panda. It's time we were placing
plants as the centerpieces of civilization
that make our culture and agriculture
possible" says Plotkin, an ethnobotanist
from D.C.'s Conservation International.
Agricultural knowledge is being lost daily
because of the lack of anthropological
agricultural studies on small-scale indige-
nous farmers. In the field of plant pa-
thology, we often forget that what we
spend every day in the lab doing is being
practiced somewhere. Somebody is
growing something using techniques
plant pathologists developed. And some
peoples are growing food without ever
even hearing of a plant pathologist. Sur-
prised? Thousands of small-scale native

farmers rarely come into contact with
anyone outside of their village or tribe,
and few of these are willing to listen to a
person who has come to teach them how
to do something they have been doing
for generations. So why are so many
people trying to teach and so few people
trying to listen? These are the indigenous
peoples who still remember what the sky
looks like and are intimately attached to
the land. The people who farm each day
have traditions, rituals and practices that
can only truly be understood by agricul-
tural anthropologists. These practices are
an often under studied resource. And in
turn, the information the anthropologists
garner must be put back into the loop of
research from the field to the lab and
back to the field.

Cultural control, biocontrol and chemi-
cal control research is being done day in
and day out, but where are the leads
coming from? You might be surprised to
learn of the large number of studies
based on indigenous agricultural knowl-
edge. Why? Mostly the vast experience
that these peoples have in agriculture.
Small-scale indigenous farmers have
unique knowledge, defined as indigenous
knowledge, that encompasses the prac-

tices as well as the decision making proc-
ess behind the practices involved with
agriculture .The agricultural practices
many of these peoples use have been in
use for thousands of years and passed
generation to generation. The upsides to
gathering indigenous knowledge are
many and varied. They are often cheaper
than conventional methods as well as
readily available. The Green Revolution
has been quick to point out the general
environmental soundness of indigenous
practices. These practices tend to be
time-tested and honored and passed
from generation to generation allowing
honing of these skills. And using safe,
sustainable methods in agriculture pest
control is one of the new focuses of
plant pathology. Clearly, safer, cheaper,
readily available, practical, and ecologi-
cally safer methods of disease control are
something to take notice of. Thus it is
imperative that plant pathologists make
goal to learn more from indigenous
knowledge and to share this information.
As more knowledge becomes readily
available from centers such as Iowa's
CIKARD (Center for Indigenous
Knowledge and Rural Development),
plant pathologists have the responsibility
of investigating some of these potential

control methods. A few studies have
already been conducted using indigenous
knowledge as a base including studies on
beetle damage in stored beans, disease
resistant cassava germplasm diversity in
backyard gardens, the Aztec chinampas
growing mounds, uses of common forest
plants for pest control in Nigeria and
sustainable soil systems by the Bedouin
of Egypt. The more we incorporate
knowledge of other peoples, the less time
plant pathologists must spend research-
ing dead-ends and the quicker the goal of
effective IPM practices can be reached.
The value of indigenous knowledge is a
virtually untapped resource that I would
greatly encourage anyone in any field to
look into...before it disappears.

Lit. Cited

Bellon, M.R 1995. Farmers' knowledge and
sustainable agroecosystem management from
Chiapas, Mexico. Human OTaniZation 54(3),

Bentley,J.W. 1999. Farmer Knowledge and
Management of Crop Disease. Agfculture and
Human Values 16(1), 75-81.

Norton, J.B., RR. Pawluk, and J.A. Sandor.
1998. Observation and experience linking
science and indigenous knowledge at Zuni,
New Mexico. JournalofAidEnvironments
39(2), 331-40.

Plotkin, M. 1994. Science education through
ethnobotany or tales of a Shaman's appren-
tice. American HoriiculturaHst 73, 12-13.

Prain, G., F. Uribe, and U. Scheidegger. 1992.
The friendly potato. In Moock and Rhoades,
ed. Diversity, Farmer Knowledge and Sus-
tainability. Comell University Press, Ithaca,
New York.

Rhoades, R. 1984. Breaking New Ground:
Agricultural Anthropology. International Po-
tato Center, Lima, Peru.

Rhoades, RI and V. Rhoades. 1980. Agricul-
tural anthropology A call for the establish-
ment of a new professional speciality. Practiing
Anthmpolog 2(4), 10-12.

Salick,J., N. Cellinese, S. Knapp. 1997. In-
digenous diversity of cassava. Economic Botany
51, 6-19.

Smit, N.E. 1997. The effect of indigenous
cultural practices of inground storage of sweet
potato. Agriculture, ecosytem and environment.
64(3), 191-200.

Smith, N.J. 1992. Tropical Forest and Their
Crops. Comell University Press, Ithaca, New

Songa,J.M. and W. Rono. 1998. Indigenous
methods for bruchid beetle control in stored
beans. International journal ofPest Management
44(1), 1-4.

Thurston, D.H. 1990. Plant disease manage-
ment practices of traditional farmers. Plant
Disease 74(2), 96-101.

Warren, D.M. Ed. 1991. Indigenous agricul-
tural knowledge systems and development.
Agiculture and Human Values 8(1-2), 2-5.

Woodley, E. 1991. Indigenous ecological
knowledge systems and development. Agricl-
ture and Human Values 8(1-2), 173-178.

Zettler, F.W. and C. Baker. 1997. Plants,
Plagues and People. FBS, Gainesville, Florida.

Faculty, staff, students,
alumni, and colleagues of our

Congratulations to Dr. S. Chandramo-
han ... for winning 2nd place in the Citrus
Student Paper category at the 1999 An-
nual Meeting of the Florida State Horti-
cultural Society. The
meeting was held
November 1-3 at the
Indian River Planta-
tion Marriot, in Stu-
art, Florida. The
title of Chandra's oral
presentation was "Biological Control of
Weedy Grasses in Citrus with a Pathogen
Mixture" and authored by S.
Chandramohan, R. Charudattan, R. M.
Sonoda, and M. Singh. For placing sec-
ond, Chandra was given a cash award of

$ 150 by the Florida State Horticultural

Belated congratulations to Christina
Fulford who was elected National Cor-
responding Secretary of the American
Society of Agronomy, Student Activities
Subdivision. Her duties include publish-
ing a newsletter and assisting in the na-
tional convention planning. Good Luck!

Charu Wins Award

Dr. Raghavan Charudattan, Professor
and Plant Pathologist, University of Flor-
ida, Gainesville, Florida, was elected a
Fellow of the Weed Science Society of
America at its recent annual meeting held
in Toronto, Canada on February 6, 2000.
He is a recipient of the University of
Florida Professorial Excellence Program
Award for 1998-99. Dr. Charudattan,
"Charu" as he likes to be called, is a
member of the Plant Pathology Depart-
ment as well as the multidisciplinary fac-
ulty of the Center for Aquatic and Inva-
sive Plants. The following is a brief sum-
mary of Charu and his program.

Charu was born in India and educated at
the University of Madras where he re-
ceived his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. de-
grees. Upon graduation, he went to the
University of California at Davis as a
postdoctoral Research Plant Pathologist
on a NIH-supported grant and worked
with Dr. James E. DeVay for two years.
He came to IFAS in the fall of 1970 on a
postdoctoral position with Drs. Bob Stall
and Dan Purcifull. In 1971, he joined
Drs. Bill Zettler and Ed Freeman as a
postdoc in the newly initiated program
on biological control of aquatic weeds.
He joined the faculty ranks in 1973 under
Dr. Hank Purdy's chairmanship.

From its small and exploratory begin-
nings, the biological weed control pro-
gram has grown into a large and well-
supported research and graduate teaching
program supported over the years by
grants from several national and state

agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, U.S. Department of the Inte-
rior, different branches or programs of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture
ARS, Forest Service, Office of Interna-
tional Cooperation and Development,
and Foreign Agricultural Service), Na-
tional Science Foundation/U.S.-Brazil
Cooperative Research Program, Florida
Department of Environmental Protec-
tion, Florida Department of Transporta-
tion, private industries, and others.

Charu has co-edited and published four
books, 15 book chapters and reviews, 50
refereed papers, and more than 150 other
publications on biological control of
weeds, plant pathogens attacking aquatic
and terrestrial weeds, bioherbicides, and
biocontrol regulations. In addition to his
primary responsibility for research, he
teaches a combined undergraduate and
graduate course on microbiological con-
trol of plant diseases and weeds. In
1990, he co-founded an international
journal, Biological Control: Theory and
Application in Pest Management, pub-
lished by Academic Press, USA. He is
the chairman of the Cooperative Re-
gional Research Project S-268 and the
vice-chairman of the International Bio-
herbicide Group. He is a member of
several regional, national, and intera-
tional professional societies and has
served on numerous national and inter-
national committees, advisory panels,
scientific boards, and working groups.
He has served as an invited consultant
for agencies such as the World Bank,
PanAmerican Health Organization,
United Nations Food and Agricultural
Organization, and others; reviewed re-
search programs and research units; and
collaborated in international research
projects in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South
Africa, and the former Yugoslavia.

Over the years, nearly 45 graduate and
undergraduate students, postdoctoral
fellows, visiting scholars, and technicians
have worked in his lab. Presently, his
team includes Jim DeValerio and Mark

Elliott (Senior Biologists), Gabriela Wyss
and S. Chandramohan (postdocs),
Camilla Yandoc, Angela Vincent, and
Matt Pettersen (graduate students), Al-
ison Walker (undergraduate University
Scholar), Dr. Amos Dinoor (visiting pro-
fessor from Israel), Henry Ross and Matt
Pusateri (OPS assistants) and Linda Farr
(OPS secretarial technician; a University
Scholar in Geology).

Charu enjoys travel, playing tennis, phi-
lately, cooking, and listening to the classi-
cal music of South India as well as
Europe. The Charudattan family has
strong ties to UF; his wife, Dharini
(Judy), teaches French at the P.K.
Younge school and his son, Savitar, is a
recent UF graduate in Business Man-

Farewell Note by: Dr. Bob
Kemerait Jr.
To the Plant Pa-
thology Depart-
ment: Good-bye,
and thank you!
About this
time last year, I
wrote an editorial in
our newsletter that
described the difficulties and sadness as I
watched close friends graduate and leave
our department. It has only been re
cently that I have begun to understand
that to leave the department is as difficult
as it is to stay behind. Although the fu-
ture holds great expectations for my fam-
ily, there is a keen sense of loss, as you all
have become a part of my family of
friends during the past 5 1'/ years.
As a student, I have spent
weeks, months, and years anxiously
awaiting the day when I would finish my
dissertation and be free from the burdens
associated with the life of a graduate stu-
dent. Since learning that a job awaited
me in Georgia, if I could finish by
March 1, I have spent nearly every wak-
ing moment focused on meeting that
deadline. The deadline loomed large in
my many hours at the computer. I ago-

nized over statistical significance, choice
of experimental design, f .._.i .rrini, and
the red ink that hemorrhaged from the
wounded pages of my dissertation as
streams of blood from the onslaught of
the pens of my dedicated committee. To
the very end, I was not sure that this
phase of student life could ever conclude,
at least happily.
But today, it ended. As the edi-
tor at Grinter Hall accepted my disserta-
tion (5t draft), she smiled politely and
handed me a "PHinally Done" decal. I
was filled immediately with a sense of
relief. However, I was also amazed be-
cause, in an instant, the frustration of the
past 5 months vanished and the urgency
of the previous night was replaced by a
vague confusion as to the next step to
take. I finished with only two days sepa-
rating the start of a new job and only a
day until Pam, Perrine, and I left for Tif-
In the effort to finish, to find a
place to live, and to prepare for the
move, I have had no time to tell those of
you in the department who have played
such an important part in my life for
these past years of the value I place in
your friendship. When we pass in the
hall, I have wanted to thank you for your
kindness and generosity during important
events in my life and to let you know that
I will not forget you, nor will I let you
forget me.
Unfortunately, my time here is
short and I won't be able to tell most of
you how much your friendship has
meant to me. I regret that I will no
longer be able to talk with you each day,
to share coffee breaks on Friday morn-
ings, to attend seminars, classes, and
graduate student meetings, and to learn
of your lives in places far from my Flor-
ida. I will miss listening to stories about
your research and your children, picnics
at Ginnie Springs, and Christmas parties
at Lake Wauberg. I'll miss lunch at La
Fiesta and Joe's, mushroom sales each
year, leisurely conversations that keep me
long after 5:00, and tubing on the
Ichetucknee. I'll miss talks on the phi-
losophy of science, debates on the domi-

nance of Fords over Chevys in NAS-
CAR, and Saturday afternoons in Octo-
ber at Florida Field. But mostly, I'll miss
I believe that one of the most
important things that one person can do
in this life is to make a positive difference
in the life of another. I have appreciated
the friendships, mentoring, and knowl-
edge that has been given to me by all of
you in this department. Each one of you
has helped to make my time here the
wonderful experience that it has been.
Thank you, and should you pass through
Tifton, please visit us. We hope to see
you all again at the departmental picnic in
Bob Kemerait

Mushroom Sale 2000

Hey, Mushroom Fans!
Are you hungry for a great deal on tasty
white button mushrooms? If so, then
come support the
SPlant Pathology Grad
Student Fundraiser!
We will be selling
\ mushrooms March
c 6th- 20). The price is
a bargain at $1.85/lb
prepaid (before 3/2'11 and ^'2''/lb the
day of the sale. See any grad student for
an order form or order via email
(acv@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu). Pick up your
mushrooms 9am-4pm, Friday March 31,

Softball Sum- Up

in the lobby of Fifield Hall.

Congratulations to the departmental
(plus a few others) softball team on their
two victories (and one close-game de-
feat)! The last game is March 16th at
10pm and the team could still use cheer-
leaders as well as any players that still
would like to join. Contact Mike Ma-
hovic if you would like more informa-

Departmental Spring Social


The annual spring social will be held at
Ginnie Springs on April 29th. Be on the
lookout for more information on this
fun event!

Coffee Break Schedule and
Birthdays for February

Friday Coffee Break
3-3 Charudattan
3-10 Gabriel
3-17 Jones
3-24 Kimbrough, Kucharek and
3-31 Pring and Chourey
4-7 Niblett
4-14 Disease Clinic and Zettler
4-21 Bartz and Berger
4-28 Hiebert

3-4 Dr. Bartz
3-7 Gail Harris
3-13 Vicente Febres
3-17 Eldon Philman
3-18 Jorge Vasquez
3-26 Mike Mahovic
4-1 Dr. Gabriel
4-7 Dr. Charudattan
4-26 Jennifer Klein



Seminar Schedule for Candi-
dates for Molecular Genetics
of Plant Pathology Position

Wednesday, March 3rd, 3:00 pm. Room
2318. Dr. Andre Drenth. "The Role of
Fungal Genetics in Plant Pathology"

Tuesday, March 14th, 11:00 am. Rooms
1306-1308. Dr. Xianming Chen.
"Stripe Rust: Pathogen populations and
Resistance of Wheat and Barley"

Wednesday, March 15th, 11:00 a.m.
Rooms 1306-1308. Dr. Gustavo Astua-
Monge. "Host-Pathogen Interations :
From Bacteria and Viruses to a Future in

Monday, March 20th, 11:00 a.m. Rooms
1306-1308. Dr. Jeffrey Rollins. "Iden-
tification of Signal Transduction Path-
ways Regulating Pathogenicity Determi-
nants and Development of Scletinia scle-

Leisure and Culture in
Gainesville March 2000 and

For events, including sports, seminars, meet-
ings and activities, check out the University
of Florida Events calendar at

S"Interview with a New

Ahmad Al-sayed Omar comes
to us from El-senbellawen, F _-pr. He is
a new Ph.D. student working with Dr.
Prim Chourey.
Ahmad received his B.Sc. in
1993, and M.Sc. in 1997 from the Faculty
of Agriculture Biochemistry Department
at Zagazig University in Egypt. His thesis
title was "Biochemical studies on royal
jelly as a honey bee product." He also
received the outstanding assistant lecturer
award. Since then he has received a
governmental scholarship to do research
in biotechnology and its' use in plant
improvement. Besides the good biotech-
nology program, and professors, Ahmad
decided on U.F. because the climate in
Florida is most like that of Egypt. His
Ph.D. studies will focus on transforming
plants such as wheat and cor to im-
prove their tolerance to temperature,
salinity and drought.
Ahmad is a newlywed as of De-
cember 3, 1999. His wife recently arrived
and will be staying with him for the dura-

tion of his studies here. She also has a
degree in biochemistry. Ahmad's hobbies
include swimming and reading. So far he
has only seen Gainesville, but he plans
on traveling to other cities such as Miami
and Orlando with his new wife.

Interview with a Student

Matt Brecht grew up in Tow-
son, Maryland, and later attended Uni-
versity of North Carolina at Wilmington,
where he earned his B.S. in FB;i. 1. _-- ir.-;
a minor in French. As a sophomore,
Matt took advantage of an opportunity
to study abroad for a semester and spend
several months at the famed La Sor-
bonne, studying intensive French and art.
Matt's interest in plant pathol-
ogy began in his senior year at
U.N.C.Wilmington. Matt had a large
garden at home and noticed one day that
his tomatoes (and his neighbor's toma-
toes) had curious spots on them. He did
some research in the library to diagnose
the problem with his plants and discov-
ered that there was an entire discipline
concerned with the diseases of plants:
plant pathology. Matt had always been a
lover of plants and had now discovered
this new biological niche. In reading, he
became completely enthralled with the
subject and knew that he wanted to pur-
sue a career in this new-found discipline.
Matt began looking for school that of-
fered graduate programs in plant pathol-
ogy, and after graduation from
U.N.C.W., visited a friend in Raleigh who
knew a plant pathologist at N.C. State.
Matt toured the campus and was inter-
viewed and immediately hired to work in
the plant disease clinic. Matt endeavored
to work as a post-bac and took a few
classes (plant breeding and general plant
pathology). He worked in the lab of Dr.
Frank Louws, concentrating on finding
alternatives to methyl bromide, preven-
tion of Botrytis on strawberry, and the
diagnosis and characterization of strains
of Xanthomonas campestripv. vesicatonia on
tomato. While at N.C. State, Matt also
worked in Dr. Pesic Von Esbroeck's lab.

There Matt learned how to micropropa-
gate virus-free sweet potato and straw-
berry plants. He maintained greenhouse
stock of virus-free cultures for distribu-
tion of cuttings to growers as virus-free
mother plants.
After gaining practical experi-
ence during his post-baccalaureate, Matt
decided to apply to graduate school. He
spoke with Dr. Zettler and visited us last
spring. Matt wanted to work on a pro-
ject involving either biological control or
cultural practices. He was put in touch
with Dr. Datnoff and is now working on
the, "Influence of fertilization with sill-
con on the development and control of
Magnaporthegnsea on St. Augustine grass."
Matt is essentially continuing Dr. Kenny
Seebold's work and performs all of his
field work during the summers at the
REC in Belle Glade. During the fall and
spring, Matt does his lab research in his
co-advisor's lab, Dr. Kucharek. Matt is
currently working on his Masters, but
hopes to expand his project and ulti-
mately earn a Ph.D.
Matt's hobbies include the hunt-
ing and gathering of edible mushrooms,
working out, fishing, and cooking. He is
also a proud and essential member of the
Plant Path. Softball team. Matt loves
living in Florida; he loves hot weather
and sunshine. (He said that he might be
able to do without the enormous mos-
quitoes in Belle Glade, however.)

We wish all of our new students much
success! We hope that there time here is
a productive and an enriching one!

Cool Web Sites

Hankering for irreverent quizzes? Try
www.emode.com. This site lets you quiz
yourself on everything from IQ to what breed
of dog you would be (if you were a dog) and
let's you e-mail your results to friends as well
as save them to a vault. Try the Pop Culture
1999 and see if your pop knowledge is Y2K

Sick of getting a busy signal for the local
movie theater? Try http://movies.yahoo.com.

Just type in your zip and it gives you local
theaters, movies and showtimes. Also has
movie reviews and a searchable movie data-

Searching for that certain piece of music no-
body seems to carry? Try www.cdnow.com.
They have a HUGE database of music titles
(both CD and cassette) at good prices and
you can search by song, album and artist.
Also, you can hear snippets of songs to make
sure that's the song you're looking for.

POETRY by Libert y Hyde Bailey
(1858-1954): botanist, horticultur-
ist, plant breeder, poet, environ-
mentalist, visionary, administra-
tor, editor, lobbyist, teacher,
traveler and plant explorer.


Quick smell of the earth, I am come once
To the feel of soil and the sky before
To tang of the ditch and whift of the bough
With a stamp of my team and grip of my

I am blowing again with wind and rain
I am falling with frost and snow
Yearning once more with the fields that have
Through the months of the drought and
You shall hear the clank of my plow and
Where my hard-harnessed horses throw
And follow the welts that I rip in twain
As I turn up the lands below.

Jangle and crunch in the far-windy mom
Cut and grind through the singing sod
Stone and high-hummock and thistle and
Root and stubble and rolling clod
Puddles that break into furrows foreshom
Helm of the handles, plow-point's prod,-
With hale of great harvest my bouts are borne
Ov'r the vasts of the glebes of God.

Mete to the mark are my furrows full-set
Hard with the muscle and marrow and sweat
Straightforth is the way and the fields are rife
High over the heights of the hills of life


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us at:

News Team February 2000
Ronald French
Misty Nielsen
Matthew Brecht

Angela Vincent
Camilla Yandoc
Juliana Freitas-Astua
Robert Kemerait

The opinions expressed in this newsletter are not neces-
sarly those of the PLP News '.

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