State Plant Pathology Laboratory Overview

Contact the Clinic

Shouhua Wang, Ph.D
State Plant Pathologist
(775) 353-3765

Jennifer Schoener
Agriculturist and Plant Diagnostician
(775) 353-3764

    The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) Plant Pathology Laboratory (PPL) is located at the department headquarters. The Plant Pathology lab is a nationally accredited plant diagnostic lab by the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) STAR-D accreditation program and is accredited by the USDA National Plant Protection Laboratory Accreditation Program (NPPLAP) for regulatory diagnostics. The lab, which includes nematology, plant pathology and a greenhouse facility, is currently under the leadership of Dr. Shouhua Wang, the state plant pathologist. Jennifer Schoener, diagnostician and quality manager, runs the lab's day-to-day diagnostics.

      The PPL is a state of the art facility and uses advanced laboratory diagnostic techniques. The entire PPL includes a 1,530 square-foot molecular diagnostics lab, a 960 square-foot nematode extraction lab and a 1,200 square-foot greenhouse. The facility is suitable for diverse lab functions, has two cold rooms for sample storage and is secured with a camera and key card system. We have introduced, optimized, validated and employed many testing and diagnostic methods including the PPQ-CPHST Beltsville lab protocols. Available diagnostic approaches include, but are not limited to, digital diagnosis, microscopic examination, pathogen isolation and culture, nematode extraction and identification, bioassay, immunostrip tests, ELISA/serology, conventional PCR, nested PCR, real-time PCR, and DNA sequence-based diagnostics.

        The PPL can test for specific pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes from plants, soil or seed. Testing is also a part of the pathogen identification process and can supplement morphological based taxonomic identification. In addition to testing and identification, the laboratory functions as clinic to diagnose plant health problems. Multiple testing methods are integrated at different levels to prove or rule out proposed causes until a primary cause of the disease is found. When a cause is identified, a process of identification of the causal organism will follow. The laboratory can achieve more accurate, or higher levels of identification through advanced molecular tests and/or DNA sequence analysis.

          The laboratory processes samples from members of the public, universities, farmers, green industry professionals, nursery inspections, USDA CAPS and Farm Bill surveys, allium crop disease inspections, seed potato certifications, seed garlic certifications, phytosanitary inspections, industrial hemp program and forest disease surveys.