Department of Plant Science

Offering Penn State degrees in agroecology, golf course turfgrass management, horticulture, landscape contracting, and turfgrass science.

Plant Science News

Soybean was a logical crop on which to conduct the research. It is the most widely grown legume in the world.
Scaring' soybeans into defensive mode yields better plants a generation later
November 13, 2018
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — By temporarily silencing the expression of a critical gene, researchers fooled soybean plants into sensing they were under siege, encountering a wide range of stresses. Then, after selectively cross breeding those plants with the original stock, the progeny "remember" the stress-induced responses to become more vigorous, resilient and productive plants, according to a team of researchers. This epigenetic reprogramming of soybean plants, the culmination of a decade-long study, was accomplished not by introducing any new genes but by changing how existing genes are expressed. That is important because it portends how crop yields and tolerance for conditions such as drought and extreme heat will be enhanced in the future, according to lead researcher Sally Mackenzie, professor in the departments of Biology and Plant Science at Penn State.
Researcher Cameron Stephens, a former graduate student in plant science, is shown in the laboratory with dollar-spot fungus isolates from Pennsylvania golf courses. Researchers tested isolates from more than 40 Pennsylvania golf courses to assess fungicid
Golf course managers challenged by fungicide-resistant turf grass disease
October 25, 2018
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Dollar spot — the most common, troublesome and damaging turfgrass disease plaguing golf courses — is becoming increasingly resistant to fungicides applied to manage it, according to Penn State researchers. An aggressive and destructive disease caused by the fungal pathogen Clarireedia jacksonii, dollar spot overwinters in plant tissues, often re-emerging in multiple epidemics throughout the year over the spring, summer and fall. The symptoms on highly maintained, closely mown turf typically consist of small patches of bleached plants that are unsightly and can affect playability of putting greens or fairways.
Penn State graduate Curtis Frederick is enjoying a career as a senior agronomist at Sterman Masser Inc., a large, family-owned potato company, in Sacramento, Pennsylvania.
Penn State education helps horticulture alumnus dig deep into potato industry
September 25, 2018
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Curtis Frederick really digs potatoes. And that's a good thing considering that the 2009 graduate of Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is enjoying a career as a senior agronomist at Sterman Masser Inc., a large, family-owned potato company, in Sacramento, Pennsylvania. "Having grown up on a potato and grain farm in Pennsylvania, I had a long-held interest in a combination of science and agriculture, but my exact career path was not clear," said Frederick, who majored in horticulture with minors in biology and agronomy. "Penn State provided the opportunity to explore options in many ways."
Mark Guiltinan, J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany.
Plant science faculty member named Styer Professor
September 21, 2018
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Mark Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was named the J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany. The Styer Professorship, created in 1990 by an endowment from late Penn State alumnus J. Franklin Styer, is intended to supplement departmental support for outstanding faculty and further the scholar's contributions to teaching, research and service.