Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Researchers at the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, and USDA Agriculture Research Service have developed a new tool to rapidly detect the pathogens that cause Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, a disease affecting a keystone tree species across more than 50,000 of acres of land in Hawai‘i. 

Person processing a sample using the "Lab in a Suitcase"
"Lab in a Suitcase" in use in the field (Credit: Carter Atkinson, USGS. Public domain.)

A fungal pathogen, Ceratocystis fimbriata, is causing Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death and mass mortality of ‘ōhi‘a trees (Metrosideros polymorpha) on Hawai‘i Island. Broad concern about the potential spread of the fungus to other islands has resulted in a ban on the movement of  ‘ōhi‘a between islands.The portable lab or "Lab in a Suitcase" was developed to allow for rapid detection of the fungal pathogen in the field. Samples can be collected from trees and tested on site with results in approximately an hour.  The "Lab in the Suitcase" is already being used by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee to detect infected trees. A full report on the methods and field application is available

Get Our News

These items are in the RSS feed format (Really Simple Syndication) based on categories such as topics, locations, and more. You can install and RSS reader browser extension, software, or use a third-party service to receive immediate news updates depending on the feed that you have added. If you click the feed links below, they may look strange because they are simply XML code. An RSS reader can easily read this code and push out a notification to you when something new is posted to our site.