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Collaborative Success Stories: Pests Aside


University of Missouri researchers within the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center (Bond LSC) are working to fortify soybeans against unruly pests.

In years past, a tiny worm has devastated millions of bushels of soybean crops. The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is a microscopic plant-parasitic worm that feeds off of soybean roots. The results are plant disease, stunted growth and in some cases, plant death. Dr. Melissa Mitchum is working to develop an understanding of the communication patterns of the SCN and hopes to eliminate the effects of this parasite.

As a member of the Bond Life Sciences Center, Mitchum is able to collaborate with other researchers to develop technologies and techniques to manage SCN and its effects. Mitchum is creating guides for farmers to improve management strategies and incorporate new findings to reduce SCN impacts. She is also working to identify genes soybeans use to resist infection with the goal of developing soybeans that are nematode resistant. This research benefits not only soybean crops, but other crops affected by similar nematodes.

Dr. Mitchum is an associate professor of plant sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and part of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group.

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Related Initiative(s):
Food for the Future