Sampling Continues, All Turn Up Negative

Published online: May 17, 2006
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Dr. Saad Hafez, head of the University of Idaho's Parma, ID, Research and Extension Center nematology lab, said Wednesday that over 2,000 soil samples from the original two fields have been tested for potato cyst nematode and all have been negative.

Since announcement of the finding of a potato cyst nematode--never before found in the United States--on April 19, it has led to nearly non-stop work.
Hafez says the Idaho State Department of Agriculture has loaned him six more lab technicians but it has been a real trying experience training lab workers, especially in identifying the various species of nemaodes.

Another group of samples will be sent to the lab by Friday. Hafez says he does not know what will happen if those samples, many taken from processing plants, packers and storages, turn up negative.

He said the urgency to trace the positive finding for a PCN has put him and his lab under great pressure. He says all they are finding are the usual nemaode species already known and being treated by growers.

APHIS and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, are jointly coordinating a team of about 30 people in eastern Idaho in sampling and investigation efforts from a command center in Idaho Falls, ID.