Bhabesh Dutta was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology on 1 April 2015. Assigned duties include development of extension programs for commercial vegetables, instruction, and research. He has been involved developing a vigorous and innovative, nationally recognized and competitively funded extension program with the priority to transfer existing and/or generate new knowledge to mitigate diseases affecting the highly diverse $1.2 billion in farm gate value vegetable production industry in Georgia.
His extension program focuses on the management of the multitude of plant diseases that affect over 20 different vegetable crops produced in Georgia. Dr. Dutta’s research efforts focus on Fusarium wilt of watermelon, gummy stem blight of watermelon, bacterial spot of pepper, black rot of cabbage, and a complex of bacterial diseases of onion as well as monitoring strains for fungicide resistance and gaining a better understanding on the ecology of bacterial pathogens.
His current projects include researching sustainable IPM practices to reduce center rot of onion; evaluation of production practices, environmental factors, and inoculum sources that impact bacterial disease outbreaks in onion in Georgia; utilization of comparative genomics and genome wide association studies of bacterial pathogens affecting onion to identify key genomics regions of pathogenicity and virulence; develop, optimize and integrate current methyl bromide alternatives with non-fumigant nematicides and pre-emergence herbicide to improve Fusarium wilt, root knot nematodes, and nutsedge management in watermelon plasticulture systems; researching sustainable IPM practices to reduce Cucurbit downy mildew; monitoring fungicide resistance in Stagnosporopsisspecies complex; multidisciplinary
approach to reduce Cucurbit leaf crumple virus and cucurbit yellow stunt disorder virus incidence in cucurbits; and develop a comprehensive and ecologically sustainable risk assessment model forbacterial leaf spot of pepper caused by Xanthomonas euvesicatoria, based on concentrations of macronutrients and micronutrients and micronutrient ratios.
An interesting fact that most people do not know is that Dr. Dutta is an avid “Lord of the Rings” fan and visiting New Zealand where most of the movie was filmed is on his bucket list.