Barry Jacobson, a Montana State University plant pathologist, brought his classroom to Chile recently, and says the schedule was intense.
Working under a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award grant, was given an opportunity to bring his expertise in integrated pest management and bio control to Chile, where he taught and assisted in research development at Austral University.
Considered a leading authority in IPM and bio control, he presented lectures to undergrads that included details on fungal toxins that affect food safety and animals. He presented workshops and seminars to potato IPM at an international workshop in Remehue.
Along the way, is helped Chile's Institute of Agricultural Research – that nation's department of agriculture – develop a virus program for their foundation seed potatoes.
"This visit was very intense," he says of his four-week stay. "I taught what I teach at MSU over a semester, in just one month."
Jacobson says he learned new ways to identify and use root colonizing bacteria that assist the plant in taking up phosphorus and nitrogen that would otherwise be unavailable. These same organisms could be isolated in Montana and used to make agricultural production more sustainable, he believes.
With a focus on collaborative short-run projects, the Fulbright Specialist Program promotes cooperation between academics and professionals in the United States and their counterparts overseas. Fulbright specialists have visited more than 100 nations.
Jacobson believes his selection for the program came largely due to his biocontrol work to control pathogens and pioneering work on induced resistance with foliar applied bacill to ward off potato pathogens like fungi.
From 1994 to 1996, Jacobson was the USDA's first IPM coordinator.
He also served as chair of the executive evaluation committee for the U.S. Agency for International Development's IPM Cooperative Support Research Program.
"That program is not active in 38 countries with a current budget of $12 million," he points out. Despite having been invited to lecture across the U.S., Europe and India, he says the Fulbright grant was "quite an honor."