Local DC Discovers New Mushrooms to Fight Vineyard Diseases

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Jinx Pollard-Flamand, born in Dawson Creek, discovered two species of fungi, a major breakthrough in the fight against vine trunk disease.

Talk about a fun guy – Dawson Creek-born Jinx Pollard-Flemish discovered two species of fungi in her master’s thesis that are found to be highly effective against vine trunk disease, a major threat to orchards and the province’s wine producers.

Pollard-Flamand says he is delighted to share his team’s research, which has been published in the one and only Journal of Fungi, as the discovery is significant for agricultural science.

“There is no cure for this disease, once you catch it it’s just a matter of trying to manage it. And in Canada there are no products to prevent infections , there are no chemical pesticides you can use, no biological control products approved for grape trunk disease,” he said.

“Our plan was basically to look at the literature for what’s been done around the world and see what we can do here.”

Pollard-Flamand added that the new discovery could potentially save the wine industry millions of dollars, easing the death penalty typical of infected vineyards. Growers had previously resorted to spraying a specialized type of arsenic as a treatment, he said – less than ideal for the grapes to be consumed by humans.

Appointed Trichoderma canadense and Trichoderma viticolahe added that both species should be a very useful tool for commercial grape growers, with 70-100% clinical effectiveness in eliminating the disease.

“Over 80% of the grapes grown in British Columbia are grown solely in the Okanagan Valley, so it’s a great place to study it,” said Pollard-Flamand, who lives and works in Summerland.

Growing up in Dawson Creek, Pollard-Flamand says his interest in biology began at a young age, which led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at UBC Okanagan, where he also earned his master’s degree. only two years ago.

“I’ve been doing science and school pretty much all my life,” he says. “I was interested because you learn all this stuff that sounds like it should be science fiction, but it’s actually real, and I wanted to get into a molecular lab.”

It’s a venture that has paid off, said Pollard-Flamand, who worked as a research scientist at Agri Food Canada for more than five years, sequencing the DNA of plants and fungi.

“I was able to do things like DNA extractions and do preliminary chain reactions, I was able to sequence DNA, which I thought was in the books only, but I have to,” said- he declared.

Pollard-Flamand says he also had the opportunity to speak at a grapevine trunk disease conference earlier this year and was excited to share the news with other scientists, some even come from California, another region well known for its wine production.

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.

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