DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE MULTI-LEVEL KNOWLEDGE BASED TOMATO DISEASE FACTSHEETS
Tomato bacterial diseases cause significant losses annually to fresh market, processing and greenhouse producers worldwide. As researchers continue to better understand the biology of bacterial pathogens and develop effective management strategies to reduce disease incidence and severity, improved methods are needed to translate and exchange this new knowledge to a diverse and dynamic group of tomato stakeholders. However, identifying tools or methods that present knowledge in a way that will facilitate uptake and application of the knowledge can be challenging. In addition, very little science-based information is available on the best way to deliver plant disease management strategies to vegetable producers. Based on surveys conducted to identify midwestern vegetable producers preferences for receiving information regarding food safety hazards and the fact that the need for communication in society is heterogeneous and requires differentiation according to target groups, innovative factsheets for bacterial leaf spot (BLS), bacterial speck, bacterial canker, and pith necrosis were developed. Each factsheet contains science-based information that incorporates recent changes in the taxonomic classification, epidemiology, management and identification of the pathogens that cause these diseases. The information provided is relevant to new producers or home gardeners (beginners), experienced producers (advanced) and plant disease diagnosticians. Information from all three levels of knowledge is summarized into one downloadable factsheet that is available in English and Spanish. Additionally, uncommon terminology is defined in English and Spanish, images of diseases with similar and potentially confusing symptoms are provided and resources for diagnosing each disease are included. The factsheets were published on January 23, 2013 at www.vegetablediseasefacts.com. Over a 2-month period the factsheets had 93 new visitors and 112 returning visitors. The bounce rate for new and returning visitors was 8.6 and 52.7%, respectively. While the majority of visitors (94.7%) were from Ohio, visitors were also from Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. International visitors were from Guatemala, India, China, Colombia, Egypt, Iran, Italy, Mexico and Senegal. Bacterial leaf spot was the most frequently visited and downloaded disease factsheet; followed by bacterial canker, pith necrosis and bacterial speck. User engagement of each factsheet continues to be monitored and additional factsheets targeting high tunnel and organic tomato producers are currently being developed.
Lewis Ivey, M.L. and Miller, S.A. (2015). DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE MULTI-LEVEL KNOWLEDGE BASED TOMATO DISEASE FACTSHEETS. Acta Hortic. 1069, 211-219
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