Bhabesh Dutta is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension plant pathologist at UGA's Tifton Campus. His research focuses on the management of plant diseases.
Dutta not only conducts research in the laboratory, he also gets to work directly with UGA Extension agents and growers to help them diagnose diseases and find the best course of treatment.
It was the combination of laboratory research and field application that drew Dutta to UGA Extension. He knew it would be the perfect platform for establishing his vegetable research program.
"The best part of my job is to act like a detective to diagnose different vegetable diseases in growers' samples and to provide recommendations," Dutta said. "Sometimes, it is easier to diagnose problems, but sometimes I encounter disease samples that are difficult to diagnose. For these samples, I have to consider different factors and scenarios in the field to come up with correct diagnoses."
While his research looks at plant diseases that affect more than 20 vegetable crops in Georgia, most of it has focused on Acidovorax citrulli, a bacterium that causes fruit blotch in gourds like watermelon.
His other topics of research include Fusarium wilt and gummy stem blight of watermelon, bacterial spot of pepper and black rot of cabbage and bacterial diseases of onion. He also monitors fungicide resistance and studies mechanism of its development in fungi affecting vegetables.
He hopes his research can develop "economically sound, ecologically sustainable disease management strategies against important vegetable diseases in Georgia," he said.
"The use of modern technologies and recent advances in other fields can be modified and used in modern-day agriculture," Dutta said of the most promising thing about todayâ€™s agriculture.
Some of the most interesting technologies being utilized are drones to map disease, sensors to detect plant pathogens by "sniffing" them out and the use of genomics to diagnose diseases, he said
Published December 4, 2015
"If I'm not at my desk I'm probably ... on a county Extension visit, rating my field plots or diagnosing diseased vegetable samples."
- Bhabesh Dutta, UGA Extension Specialist in Plant Pathology
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (India); Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Georgia