Faculty Directory

Felix L. Lukezic

Professor Bacterial diseases; interactions between pathogenic bacteria and other phytopathogenic organisms, both synergistic and antagonistic.

E-mail: fll1@psu.edu

Colorado State University
Colorado State University

University of California, Davis
Biological Science
Botany and Plant Pathology
Plant Pathology



Bacteria have long been associated with plants. They actively fix nitrogen, which benefits much of life on Earth. On the other hand, they cause plant diseases resulting in serious problems. Only recently have we become aware that bacteria enhance plant growth by protecting the roots from minor pathogens. In addition, under certain conditions, bacteria can reduce the effects of major disease organisms. A significant part of my research is in this area. I am working with two antagonistic strains of bacteria, one originally isolated from soil and the second isolated from a leaf surface. I am determining if they can be used as biological control agents for serious diseases of forage and vegetable crops. Field experiments have shown that if applied frequently enough, one of them significantly reduces the severity of foliage diseases of alfalfa and tomatoes. Unfortunately, at this time, the level is not feasible for commercial use. I am working with other researchers to determine the factors affecting the effectiveness of these organisms. For example, we have been testing different formulations, strain selections, growth conditions, and time of application.

Besides biological control, I am interested in other means of disease control. This phase of my research is in cooperation with several other researchers in the College of Agricultural Sciences. I am part of a group working with a living laboratory/classroom for the integration of research and education programs on alternative vegetable production systems. We are investigating ways to reduce the impact of standard pesticides, testing low-impact pesticides as well as using different mulches and compost teas.


Lukezic, F. L., K. T. Leath, M. Jones, and R. G. Levine. 1990. Efficiency and potential use in crop protection of the naturally occurring resident antagonists on the phylloplane. In: New Directions in Biological Control: Alternatives of Suppressing Agricultural Pests and Diseases, ed. R. R. Baker and P. E. Dunn. Alan R. Liss, Inc. Pp. 793-812.

Gustine, D. L., R. T. Sherwood, B. G. Moyer, and F. L. Lukezic. 1990. Metabolites from Pseudomonas corrugata elicit phytoalexins biosynthesis in white clover. Phytopathology 80:1427-1432.

Casida, L. E., Jr., and F. L. Lukezic. 1991. Control of leaf spot diseases of alfalfa and tomato with applications of the bacterial predator Pseudomonas strain 679-2. Plant Disease 76:1217-1220.

Gustine, D. L., R. T. Sherwood, F. L. Lukezic, B. G. Moyer, and W. S. Devlin. 1994. Metabolites of Pseudomonas corrugata that elicit plant defense reactions. In: Bioregulators for Crop Protection and Pest Control, ed. P. A. Hedin. ACA Symposium Series 557. Pp. 167-181.

Lukezic, F. L., G. Latch, C. M. Latch, F. S. Hay, and K. Sivasithamparam. 1996. Prospects of biological control of diseases of pasture crops. pp. 509-532 In: S. Chakroborty, et al. Pasture and Forage Crop Pathology. Amer. Soc. Agronomy, Madison, WI.

de Mackiewicz, D., Gildow, F. E., Blua, M., Fleischer, S. J., and Lukezic, F.L., 1998. Herbaceous weeds are not ecologically important reservoirs of Erwinia tracheiphila. Plant Dis. 82:521-526.

Teaching Philosophy

I think university teaching is a great and challenging profession with simple rewards. Although I have been teaching for more than 32 years at Penn State University, I still look forward to each new class with its group of students and their experiences and expectations. Each class is a new challenge trying to get the students excited about just learning as well learning the course content. Although I don't always succeed, I hope that the students at least feel provoked enough attempt to start on their own. There is a great deal of concern about the difficult challenges citizens of the World and particularly those in agriculture are going to have to face soon. Thus, I want my students to prepare to meet these challenges. Consequently, I work hard to get them to think critically, be comfortable with new technology, and to be able to express themselves both verbally and by writing. They must be aware of the serious tasks facing agriculture. It is my hope that in some small way I have helped them so that when they graduate from PSU they will be ready to contribute to the solutions.

Freshman Seminar Course 'Be A Master Student!' |
Decision-Making in Agriculture and Natural Resources
Principles of Plant Science Research

Agroecosystems Science

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Last Updated: Thursday, October 30, 1997
Penn State Department of Plant Pathology
211 Buckhout Lab, University Park, PA 16802
(814)865-2292 FAX:(814)863-7217
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