2021-22 Post-TriSociety Conference Virtual Workshops

A series of online workshops is being organized by the CPS Workshop Committee. Virtual workshops will be occurring approximately each month, with the first in September.

September 17, 2021: Advances in the understanding and management of soil-borne pathogens of Canadian crops

Soil borne diseases are considered a major limitation to crop production. Some soil pathogens such as Rhizoctonia spp., Verticillium spp., Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Plasmodiophora brassicae, Fusarium spp. and nematode species can cause yield losses up to 100% in both large acreage and horticultural crops like canola, wheat, pulses, maize, potato, fruits and vegetables. This workshop will focus on the most important soilborne diseases affecting crops across Canada. During the workshop, a series of speakers will present the most damaging pathogens, including aspects
about their biology, ecology, spread, impact on crop production and management.
Management of soil-borne pathogens is difficult to achieve even with costly practices that may be harmful to both the environment and the soil ecology. With the loss of several effective fumigants in recent years due to their environmental impacts, research has intensified into improvement of existing tools and alternative soil disinfestation strategies. Topics will include a keynote presentation on anaerobic soil disinfestation by Dr. Joji Muramoto from the University of California and the latest Canadian research on alternative disinfestation strategies.

Duration: The workshop will run from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. Talks will be 25 or 30 minutes including questions. There will also be an extended Q&A session for all participants.

October 20, 2021: The increasing issue of ergot in cereal production and the biological questions being explored
Claviceps purpurea or ergot has become increasingly more common in cereals over the last two decades. This has led to a renewed research interest on the ergot fungi, and their relationships with cereal hosts. This workshop will provide information from the Cereal Grain Commission’s Harvest Survey Program which has conducted ongoing surveillance of ergot from 1995 to present, including frequency and severity in different grains, locations and amongst years. The history of taxonomic studies on the ergot fungi based on variations at intra and inter specific levels will be examined as well as comparative and population genomics to identify potential mechanisms driving speciation in Claviceps with a focus on C. purpurea sensu latu. Recent work on wheat – C. purpurea genetic interactions looking at resistance mechanisms will be presented and discussed.

December 3, 2021: Exploring Blackleg Management Tools and Quantitative Resistance
Leptosphaeria maculans or blackleg disease of canola is a threat to the Canadian canola industry due to potential impact on crop yield and seed export. Significant federal and grower research funds have been invested to better understand the host-pathogen interactions and develop new management tools/strategies, including judicious deployment of R genes, better timing of disease control measures, and more recently, quantitative resistance. This workshop will highlight some of the progresses made in these areas to provide canola industry a sense on what is coming down research pipelines.

January 2022: Bioinformatics training for plant pathologists
1) Introduction to genomics for fungal phytopathogens: With the decreasing costs of next generation sequencing and the maturing field of bioinformatics, studies that deal with genome characterization and comparisons of phytopathogens are becoming more common. This workshop will give a basic introduction to raw sequence data processing, genome assembly, genome annotation, comparative genomics analyses, and tips on how to organize data, with a focus on fungal phytopathogens.
2) Introduction to community analysis and fungal pathogen detection using metabarcoding approach: Metabarcoding has been widely used for profiling the environmental microbial communities and the detection of plant pathogens. This workshop will introduce a) the QIIME2 pipeline for the generation of Amplicon Sequence Variant (ASV) table, b) community analysis in R, c) the extraction of sequences of specific taxon group, and d) improved the detection accuracy of pathogens at species/subspecific levels using BLAST and the standalone AODP software. We will highlight and address the constraints limiting the use of HTS for phytopathogen detection.
3) Introduction to VirTool: Virtool is a web application for the management of HTS data, with analysis pipelines for known plant viruses (Pathoscope), novel virus detection (NuVs) and other plant (DNA) pathogens (AODP). In this workshop you will gain an overview of various Virtool functions with a focus on the use of Pathoscope and NuVs. If time permits we will also cover aspects of AODP.