Academic Background

1979 Ph.D. University of Florida
1976 M.S. University of Florida
1974 B.S. University of Delaware

Research Interests and Current Efforts

My research interests include the detection and identification of bacterial and viral pathogens, the ecology of bacterial plant pathogens and the epidemiology of both bacterial and viral diseases. My lab has most recently focused on Pantoea ananatis and P. agglomerans (thrips-vectored bacteria that are part of the center rot of onion complex), Burkholderia cepacia (sour skin of onion), Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli (watermelon fruit blotch), Iris yellow spot virus and Tomato spotted wilt virus (thrips- vectored viruses in the Tospovirus group). Management strategies of interest include seed health assays, crop rotation schemes with suppressive hosts, solarization, SAR compounds and adjusting micro-nutrient ratios to increase plant disease resistance.

Recent Publications

Nischwitz, C., A.L. Maas, S.W. Mullis, A.K. Culbreath and R.D. Gitaitis. 2007. First report of Peanut mottle virus in forage peanut (Arachis glabrata) in North America. Plant Dis. 91:632.

Nischwitz, C., H.R. Paapu, S.W. Mullis, A.N. Sparks, D.B. Langston, A.S. Csinos and R.D. Gitaitis. 2007. Phylogenetic analysis of Iris yellow spot virus isolates from onion (Allium cepa) in Georgia and Peru. J. Phytopathology 155:531-535.

Nischwitz, C., R. D. Gitaitis, S. W. Mullis, A. S. Csinos, and D. B. Langston, Jr. 2007. First Report of Iris yellow spot virus in Spiny Sowthistle (Sonchus asper) in the United States. Plant Dis. 91:1518.

Nischwitz, C., R. Gitaitis, H. Sanders, D. Langston, B. Mullinix, R. Torrance, G. Boyhan, and L. Zolobowska. 2007. Use of Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Profiles to Compare Copper-Tolerant and Copper-Sensitive Strains of Pantoea ananatis. Phytopathology 97:1298-1304.

Gitaitis, R. and R. Walcott. 2007. The epidemiology and management of seedborne diseases. Annu. Rev. Phytopathology 45:371-397.

Diaz-Perez, J.C., R. Gitaitis and B. Mandal. 2007. Effects of plastic mulches on root zone temperature and on the manifestation of tomato spotted wilt symptoms and yield of tomato. Scientia Horticulturae 114:90–95.

Mullis, S.W., R. D. Gitaitis, C. Nischwitz, A. S. Csinos, Z. C. Rafael Mallaupoma, and E. H. Inguil Rojas. 2006. First Report of Onion (Allium cepa) Naturally Infected with Iris yellow spot virus (Family Bunyaviridae, Genus Tospovirus) in Peru. Plant Dis. 90:377.

Mullis, S.W., A.S. Csinos, R.D. Gitaitis, and N. Martinez-Ochoa. 2006. First report of Pinaceae in Georgia naturally infected with Tomato spotted wilt virus (family Bunyaviridae, genusTospovirus). Plant Dis. 90:376.

Nischwitz, C., S.W. Mullis, R.D. Gitaitis, and A.S. Csinos. 2006. First Report of Tomato spotted wilt virus in Soybean (Gycine max). Plant Dis. 90:524.

Nischwitz, C., S.W. Mullis, R.D. Gitaitis, A.S. Csinos, and S.M. Olsen. 2006. First Report of Tomato spotted wilt virus in Leeks (Allium porrum) in the United States. Plant Dis. 90:525.

Edens, D.G., Gitaitis, R.D., Sanders, F.H. and Nischwitz, C. 2006. First report of Pantoea agglomerans causing a leaf blight and bulb rot of onions in Georgia. Plant Dis. 90:1551.

Sconyers, L.E., R.C. Kemerait, Jr., J.H. Brock, R.D. Gitaitis, F.H. Sanders, D. V. Phillips and P.H. Jost. 2006. First report of Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the causal agent of asian soybean rust, on Florida beggarweed in the United States. Plant Dis. 90:972.

Gitaitis, R.D. and C. Nischwitz. 2006. Burkholderia. pp 645-670 In: "Plant-Associated Bacteria" (ed) S.S. Gnanamanickam. Springer-Verlag Publishing, The Netherlands.
712 p.

Tollner, E. W., R.D. Gitaitis, K.W. Seebold and B.W. Maw. 2005. Experiences with a food product x-ray inspection system for classifying onions. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 21:907-912.