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Plant Pathology Research

Selected Hightlight of the 2020 Cranberry Pathology Program

Dr. Leela Saisree Uppala with technical support from Krystal DeMoranville and Rayann Jahrling

Ongoing Research Projects:

  1. Evaluation of Novel, Eco-Friendly Chemistries for Cranberry Fruit Rot Disease Management.
  2. Investigation of Potential Sources of Overwintering Inoculum for Cranberry Fruit Rot.
  3. Optimization of Current Cultural Practices Cranberry Fruit Rot Management.
  4. Improving Cranberry Fruit Quality by Understanding the Microclimate of the Bog.
  5. Evaluation of Factors Affecting Fruit Rot Incidence and Fruit quality.
  6. Cranberry Disease Management Section for “My IPM” smartphone app.

Grant Funding:

As a Principal Investigator (11/2019-11/2020):

Funding Agency


CapeCod Cranberry Growers Association


United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service


Chemical Industry Funding




As a Collaborator:

NE-SARE grant (PI-Dr. Mupambi): $24,828

Hatch grant (PI- Dr. Mupambi) : $26,500

Research Publications/Presentations:

Shumila, J., Wang, X., Rojas, E., Uppala, S. and Neto, C. 2020. Quercetin and p-coumaric acid derivatives in cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) fruit vary in response to growing conditions and fruit rot diseases. American Chemical Society national meeting. Orlando, Florida, USA.

Marrano, A., Uppala, S., and Moyers, B. 2020. Digital detection of fruit rot incidence in fungicide efficacy trials of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon). Phenome, February 24-27, Tuscon, AZ, USA.

Uppala, L. S., Marrano, A., and Moyers, B. 2020. Evaluation of Chlorothalonil alternative fungicide regimes for cranberry fruit rot and quality (Traditional methods vs high-throughput image analysis). American Phytopathological Society Virtual Annual Meeting.

Uppala, S. and Sandler, H. 2020. The American Cranberry: History, Current Horticultural Trends and Sustainable Disease Management Strategies. 7TH International Conference on Phytopathology in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals, Indian Phytopathological Society, Jan 16-20, New Delhi, India.

Zhou, X. G., Uppala, S., Liu, B., Guo, Z., Liu, G., Lei, X. and Gaire, S. 2020. Efficacy of Fungicides for Control of Rice Kernel Smut . Texas Rice Research Highlights 2020. Texas A & M AgriLife Research Center, Beaumont, Texas.

Zhou, X.G., Uppala, S., Liu, B., Guo, Z., Gaire, S., Lei, X., and Wang, L. 2020. In vitro and field evaluation of fungicides for control of rice kernel smut.  2020 Rice Technical Working Group (RTWG), February 24-27, 2020, in Orange Beach, AL. 

 As an Invited Speaker Presented on “ 200 Years of Cranberry Domestication & 100 Years of Cranberry Fruit Rot: A Review” at UMass-Amherst’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture Seminar Series.

Extension Updates:

  • Disease Diagnosis: Provided in vitro, in situ and virtual disease diagnostic service and management guidelines to 27 growers.  
  • Cranberry 18th Annual Crop Summit Meeting: Presented Cranberry Disease Management Updates, November 26th, 2019.
  • Cranberry Station's Annual Research and Extension Update Meeting: Presented on " Optimizing Current Cultural Practices & Evaluation of novel fungicides for fruit rot management", January 30th, 2020.
  • Blue Jeans Pesticide Credit Session: Presented on “Optimizing Fruit Rot Management”, April 27th, 2020.
  • Keeping Quality Forecast (KQF): In collaboration with Dr. Peter Jeranyama provided growers with “Preliminary KQF” in April 2020 and “Final KQF” in June 2020 to assist growers with Late Water and Fruit Rot Management decisions.
  • Provided consistent disease management updates to cranberry growers by Cranberry Station hosted virtual bog side meetings (April 16th, May 6th, May 20th, June 8th), Newsletters and weekly IPM messages.
  • Social Media Educational Videos: Created and posted a total of 6 educational videos on YouTube which were viewed over 700 times. 


  • Vice-Chair of American Phytopathological Society Plant Pathogens and Disease Detection (APS-PPDD) Committee 2019-2020.
  • Serving as a Chair of APS-PPDD Detection Committee 2020-2021.
  • Serving as a Member of APS Extension Committee.
  • Senior Editor (2019-2021 term) for Plant Health Instructor.
  • Serving as a Reviewer for 9 Agricultural and Plant Pathology journals.
  • Serving as a member of UMass-Plant Biology Graduate Admission committee evaluating incoming applications for 2020 and 2021 Fall.