Champoiseau, P., Jones, J.B., Allen, C. and Momol, T. 2009. Developing an effective international education program for management of Ralstonia solanacearum Race 3 biovar 2. First joint meeting of the Florida Phytopathological Society and the American Phytopathological Society Caribbean Division. Held May 16-19, 2009, Orlando, Florida, USA. Phytopathology XX.

Abstract: Because it threatens both potato and ornamental production, Ralstonia solanacearum Race 3 biovar 2 (R3bv2) is considered a serious quarantine pest in Canada and Europe and is listed as a Select Agent plant pathogen in the United States, where it is subject to the strictest biosecurity regulations. Although this pathogen is not known to be established in the US, import of infected geranium cuttings from off-shore production sites has already proved to be a possible pathway for introduction. Previous accidental introductions resulted in multi-million dollar losses due to quarantine responses. Therefore it is critical to prevent further re-introduction and possible spread of R3bv2 in the US. This involves exclusion, early detection, and unambiguous identification of the pathogen at both national and international levels. This can be achieved by use of reliable diagnostic tools for the pathogen and effective phytosanitary measures; however, this is not enough. It is also essential to ensure preparedness and effective training of official regulators, diagnosticians and other individuals responsible for first detection and response to a possible R3bv2 discovery in the US. We have therefore developed an integrated education and outreach program, as part of a USDA-founded project for a better management of R3bv2. This program involves development of educational and training content by a team of experts, delivery of educational materials to target audiences by diverse means including current web-based technologies, as well as use of various evaluation tools to assess program effectiveness. Monitored access of our Ralstonia/bacterial wilt-dedicated website shows that stakeholders from diverse organizations both within and outside the US regularly use this resource to obtain updated and accurate information on R. solanacearum R3bv2 and bacterial wilt disease management.