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Ann Northrup


Foothill College & Merritt College

Plant disease: Identifying deadly microorganisms.  


When a plant looks sick, there are many possibilities of what could be wrong with it. Perhaps it is nothing more than poor growing conditions. But sometimes plants become sick because they are infected by microorganisms. Skill can be developed to discern when a plant is infected. More than one kind of technology is available to confirm the presence and identity of the pathogen. Proper identification of what is wrong with a plant allows one to develop a prognosis and possible management options.

Meet the Speaker:

Ann spent her undergraduate years at the University of Michigan where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology. Her interest in plant pathology started there but she took a five year diversion working in the field of medical diagnostics at Bio Rad Labs in Richmond CA, and another two years as a molecular biology research assistant at UC Irvine. After that long wait, she returned to plant pathology to earn a master’s degree with Dr. Bob Raabe at UC Berkeley. Her work has been primarily in disease diagnostics of ornamental plants, first with Soil and Plant Lab in Orange CA, and then with Nurserymen’s Exchange in Half Moon Bay. She currently consults privately in plant pathology and arboriculture and teaches horticultural classes at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills and Merritt College in Oakland. One of her long time and current enjoyments is volunteering at the "Sick Plant Clinic" at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. More recently she has also become an active volunteer in the UCCE Master Gardener program of Santa Clara County. In her spare time she enjoys playing her flute in a woodwind quintet in Saratoga and with the Saratoga Community Band. And of course,… she gardens.

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