Molecular Plant Pathogen Detection Lab (MPPD Lab)

Due to COVID-19, our laboratory building is closed to the public until further notice and staff are working under a modified operation status.  Diagnosticians for the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic labs continue to process samples, but hours in the lab are limited per State mandate. All staff remain available during work hours via email and voicemail. Please be patient as you may experience slightly longer response times.

Samples from agricultural and other commercial growers and clients will be prioritized over residential samples. Residential clients are encouraged to initially send (at no charge) photographs of unhealthy plants, plant pests, or plant/weed identifications to our diagnostician, Meg Williamson, at If an identification cannot be made from photographs, the residential client may then send a physical sample to the lab, which will be charged the usual sample fee. 

Samples may be shipped to our building via UPS, FedEx, and USPS. Please limit weight of packages to 10 pounds or less. IMPORTANT: staff will only be in the lobby to receive packages on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Shippers should select a method and shipping date that will ensure packages arrive on one of those days of the week. 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 ( or (864) 646-2133) when a sample is placed in the drop box.

Per declaration of the State Entomologist, until further notice we will not accept samples for Insect Identification of a biting/stinging nature unless submitted in ethanol by a physician, public health official, or pest control operator.

We thank you for your understanding of our compliance with these important public health measures mandated by the State of South Carolina and Clemson University.

The Molecular Plant Pathogen Detection Lab (MPPD Lab) utilizes molecular techniques to identify plant pathogens.  Pathogens will be identified by colony morphology, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and by real-time PCR.  DNA is extracted from symptomatic tissue and prepared for PCR.  The PCR process allows us to amplify a trace amount of pathogen DNA into a larger and detectable amount of DNA.  This technique identifies pathogens much faster than traditional techniques, and identifies pathogens that are difficult to isolate and culture.  The purpose of the lab is to support South Carolina growers in the early detection of plant diseases.  The lab also identifies plant diseases of USDA-APHIS regulatory concern.

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