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K-State professor to give paper on potential impact of ag bioterrorism

The key to minimizing impact is early detection and accurate diagnosis. The earlier the detection and diagnosis, the earlier the response; the earlier the response the lower the impact. That's the basic philosophy whether dealing with a human disease like cancer or one in plants like karnal bunt of wheat. Or an occurrence of bioterrorism.

It is that preparedness for a possible agricultural bioterrorism attack and a detection system put into place by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Homeland Security that will allow for the rapid detection and diagnosis of a possible bio agent -- introduced either into a plant or an animal production system. That is the essence of a paper a Kansas State University professor is presenting today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle.

James Stack, a K-State associate professor of plant pathology, will present "Land Grant Universities Respond to Bioterrorism Threats to Crop Production" at a symposium on countering the potential for impact of biothreats to crops and livestock. Stack will address the implementation of the National Plant and Diagnostic Network established from an approximately $4.5 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Under the network, the United States is divided into five regions -- each region delineated based on ecological considerations, plant criteria with respect to agriculture and natural plant systems. Within each region is a diagnostic center that serves as the hub for that region and is tied into a laboratory in each state assigned to that region. Kansas is assigned to the Great Plains region and K-State was selected as the site to establish the regional diagnostic center.

"In most literature it is referred to as the state triage lab," Stack said. "That's just a clearing house for samples that are submitted with problems."

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Contact: James Stack
jstack@k-state.edu
785-532-1388
Kansas State University
14-Feb-2004


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