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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

February 25, 2005

Research briefs

Pathologist takes on ag pests

Farmers will have a better idea when to apply pesticides to fight diseases such as Asian soybean rust, thanks to a disease monitoring, forecasting and information delivery system under development.

Forrest Nutter, plant pathology, is leading a team that focuses on new and emerging plant diseases. The team plans to develop a system that will build on the National Plant Diagnostic Network, a national consortium that assists in early detection and preliminary diagnoses of pest and disease outbreaks.

The system will predict and map the spread of pathogens and pests using weather-based atmospheric transport models. Other models will be developed to show where conditions are favorable for a pathogen infection.

More precise information will help farmers determine when to apply pesticides. Applying pesticides too early can be a waste of both time and money, while applying them too late can affect crop yield, Nutter said.

Other Iowa State members of the team are Mark Gleason, plant pathology; Kevin Kane, academic information technologies; Elwynn Taylor, agronomy; and John Basart, engineering. The other team member is at Kansas State University.

The team expects to have its system in place by January 2008. The work is funded through a USDA-NRI Animal and Plant Biosecurity program grant.

Resistance to integration

Associate professor of curriculum and instruction Patricia Randolph's new book reveals how segregated and substandard schools emerged for a generation of black children in Ohio.

Leigh said the book takes its name, Fly in the Ointment, from white racists who believed the black school district Lincoln Heights "contaminated" the wealthy neighborhoods that surrounded it, like a 'fly in the ointment.'

"The book uncovers intense resistance to racial integration and the equalization of educational oppor-tunities, motivated by racial hatred and bigotry," Leigh said.

"It also underscores another type of resistance -- a force rarely recognized in traditional history books: the counter resistance of black leaders against oppression," she said.

Leigh charts the 1950 creation of Lincoln Heights and the political and societal nuances that left it a poorly funded, black district surrounded by more affluent white school districts.

By 1969, black school leaders initiated efforts to dissolve Lincoln Heights so the district's students could attain a more equitably funded education, Leigh said. Despite fierce resistance, the predominantly white district of Princeton was merged with Lincoln Heights in 1970.

"Despite the constant barrage of obstacles thrown their way, Lincoln Heights leaders fought for -- and finally won -- quality schooling for their children," Leigh said.


An Iowa State team is developing a system that will predict and map the spread of pathogens and pests, which will help farmers determine when to apply pesticides to fight diseases such as Asian soybean rust.