- Apply RNA technologies to the industry problem of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and test whether it has an effect on inhibiting growth
- Test dsRNA for adhesion to leaves, durability, and persistence in soil
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, also known as sclerotinia, is a fungal pathogen that is a major contributor to yield loss in the canola industry. Currently there are no canola varieties that are sclerotinia resistant and farmers rely on crop rotations and foliar fungicides to deal with it, but that is not enough. Recently, there were ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules that were found to inhibit sclerotinia growth when they were applied in the lab. RNA is a genetic material that can be applied as a foliar fungicide and is highly specific to inhibit only sclerotinia and no other beneficial components. This study proposed to apply the RNA technology in the field to see if it would inhibit sclerotinia even in field conditions but without the side effects of conventional pesticides. This RNA technology would reduce excessive chemical inputs and promote agro-ecological health, as well as helping canola producers with a major disease problem.