Molecular Plant Pathogen Detection Lab (MPPD Lab)

Since COVID-19 restrictions have been eased, our staff are now present in the lab 5 days a week. Samples may be dropped off at the front desk, and lab personnel are available to assist clients in person (by appointment only), or by phone or email. Clients who wish to submit are urged to call ahead and are required to wear a mask while in the building.

Samples may be shipped via UPS, FedEx, and USPS. We are here to receive packages Monday - Friday, excluding holidays. Samples may also be dropped off at our building’s drop box located at our rear loading dock, which also houses sample forms, bags, and other supplies. Please notify Lab Coordinator Diana Low (dlow@clemson.edu or (864) 646-2133) when a sample is placed in the drop box.

The Molecular Pathogen and Pest Detection Lab (MPPD) utilizes molecular techniques to identify plant pathogens, especially those of USDA-APHIS regulatory concern.  Certain bee pathogens and Africanized honey bees are also identified. The main purpose of the lab is to support detection and survey efforts of the Department of Plant Industry. It also supports South Carolina growers through the early detection of plant diseases. 

Pathogens and pests are identified by either standard or real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), or by morphology in some cases. The PCR process allows us to amplify a trace amount of pathogen or pest DNA into a larger and detectable amount of DNA.  This technique enables much faster identification than traditional techniques, and can also be used to identify pathogens that are difficult to isolate and culture. 

For more information regarding the MPPD Lab, call (864) 646-2133 and ask for Curt Colburn, or email gcolbur@clemson.edu.