Dr. Ron Gitaitis (Professor Emeritus, Plant Pathology)


Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame Induction 2017
National Onion Association (NOA) National Distinguished Service Award 2016
Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award southern Division APS 2014
Excellence in Research Senior Scientist, University of Georgia- Tifton Campus 2005
Sigma Xi Creative Research Award. 2001
U.S.D.A. Certificate of Merit 1996
Sigma Xi Distinguished Research Award 1995
Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Research, Junior Category 1986

Selected Publications

* Postdoctoral Research Associates Supervised

** Graduate Students supervised either as major professor or on reading committee.

Walcott, R.R. and Gitaitis, R.D. 2019.  Review of seed sample size determination and methods for extracting phytopathogenic bacteria from seeds. In: Detection of Plant Pathogenic-Bacteria in Seed and Other Planting Material. 2nd ed. APS Press. Published Online: 11 Mar 2019 https://doi.org/10.1094/9780890545416.003

Walcott, R.R., Feng, J., and Gitaitis, R.D. 2019. Detection of Acidovorax citrulli in cucurbit seeds. In: Detection of Plant Pathogenic-Bacteria in Seed and Other Planting Material. 2nd ed. APS Press. Published Online: 11 Mar 2019 https://doi.org/10.1094/9780890545416.003

Shabnam Rahimi-Khameneh, Sanni Hsieh, Renlin Xu, Tyler J. Avis, Sean Li, Donna Smith, Bhabesh Dutta, Ronald D. Gitaitis, and James T. Tambong. 2019.  Pathogenicity and a TaqMan Real-Time PCR for Specific Detection of Pantoea allii, a Bacterial Pathogen of Onions.  Plant Disease 103:3031-3040.

Dutta, B., Gitaitis, R., Agarwal, G., Coutinho, T., and Langston D. 2018. Pseudomonas coronafaciens sp. nov., a new phytobacterial species diverse from Pseudomonas syringae. PLoS ONE 13(12):e0208271.

**Stumpf, S., R. Gitaitis, T. Coolong, C. Riner, and B. Dutta. 2017.  Interaction of onion cultivar and growth stages on incidence of Pantoea ananatis bulb infection. Plant Disease https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-01-17-0143-RE040.

Dutta, B., D.B. Langston, X. Luo, J. Kichler, S. Carlson and R. Gitaitis. 2017.  A risk assessment model for bacterial leaf spot (BLS) of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), caused by Xanthomonas euvesicatoria, based on concentrations of macronutrients and micronutrients and micronutrient ratios.  Phytopathology: In press

Dutta, B., F. Anderson, S. Smith, and R.D. Gitaitis. 2017.  Epiphytic survival of Pantoea ananatis on Richardia scabra L. in Georgia.  Plant Disease 101:613-618.

*Dutta, B., R. Gitaitis, A. Barman, U. Avci, K. Marasigan and R. Srinivasan. 2016.  Interactions between Frankliniella fusca and Pantoea ananatis in the center rot epidemic of onion (Allium cepa). Phytopathology 106:956-962.

Chitturi, A., D. Riley, C. Nischwitz*, R. Gitaitis, and R. Srinivasan.  2015.  Thrips settling, oviposition and IYSV distribution on onion foliage. J. Econ. Entomol. 108:1164-1175.

*Dutta, B., R.D. Gitaitis, H. Sanders, C. Booth, S. Smith, and D.B. Langston, Jr. 2014. Distribution and survival of Pseudomonas sp. on Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and curly dock (Rumex crispus), in Georgia.  Plant Dis. 98:660-666.

*Dutta, B., R. Gitaitis, H. Sanders, C. Booth, S. Smith, and D.B. Langston, Jr. 2014.  Role of blossom colonization in pepper seed infestation by Xanthomonas euvesicatoria.  Phytopathology 104:232-239.

*Dutta, B., H. Sanders, D.B. Langston, C. Booth, S. Smith, and R.D. Gitaitis.  2014. Long-term survival of Acidovorax citrulli in citron melon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides) seeds.  Plant Pathology 63:1130-1137.

*Dutta, B., Barman, A. K., Srinivasan, R., Avci, U., Langston, D.B., and Gitaitis, R.D. 2014. Transmission of Pantoea ananatis and P. agglomerans causal agents of center rot of onion (Allium cepa L.) by onion thrips (Thrips tabaci Lindeman) through feces.  Phytopathology 104:812-819.

*Dutta, B., R. Gitaitis, S. Smith, and D.B. Langston, Jr.  2014.  Interactions of seedborne bacterial pathogens with host and non-host plants in relation to seed infestation and seedling transmission. PLOS ONE 9(6): e99215. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099215.

*Dutta, B., Block, C.C., Stevenson, K.L., Hunt Sanders, F., Walcott, R.R. and Gitaitis, R.D. 2013. Distribution of phytopathogenic bacteria in infested seeds. Seed Sci. & Technol. 41:383-397.

**Dutta, B., H. Scherm, R.D. Gitaitis, and R.R. Walcott. 2012.  Acidovorax citrulli seed inoculum load affects seedling transmission and spread of bacterial fruit blotch of watermelon under greenhouse conditions.  Plant Dis. 96:705-711.

Srininvasan, R., S. Sundaraj, H.R. Pappu, S. Diffie, D.G. Riley, and R.D. Gitaitis.  2012.   Transmission of Iris Yellow Spot Virus by Frankliniella fusca and Thrips tabaci (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) J. Econ. Entomol.105:40-47.

**Wang, W., C. Li, E.W. Tollner, G.C. Rains, and R.D. Gitaitis.  2012.  A liquid crystal tunable filter based shortwave infrared spectral imaging system:  Design and integration. Journal Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 80:126-134.

**Wang, W., C. Li, E.W. Tollner, R.D. Gitaitis, and G.C. Rains. 2012. Shortwave infrared hyperspectral imaging for detecting sour skin (Burkholderia cepacia)-infected onions. Journal of Food Engineering, 109:36–48.

*Nischwitz, C., R. Srinivasan, S. Sundaraj, S.W. Mullis, and R.D. Gitaitis.  2012.  Geographical distribution and survival of Iris yellow spot virus in spiny sowthistle, Sonchus asper, in Georgia  Plant Disease 96:1165-1171.

Brady, C.L., T. Goszczynska**, S.N. Venter, I. Cleenwerck, P. De Vos, R.D. Gitaitis and T.A. Coutinho.  2011.  Pantoea allii sp. nov., a novel species isolated from onion and onion seed.  Int. J. Sys. Evol. Microbiol. 61:932-937.

Srinivasan, R., S. Diffie, S. Sundaraj, S.W. Mullis, D. Riley, R. Gitaitis, and H.R. Pappu. 2011. Evaluation of Lisianthus as an indicator host for Iris yellow spot virus. Plant Dis. 95:1520-1527.

Srinivasan, R., F. Guo, D. Riley, S. Diffie, R. Gitaitis, A. Sparks, Jr., and A. Jeyaprakash.  2011.  Assessment of variation among Thrips tabaci populations from Georgia and Peru based on polymorphisms in mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 and ribosomal ITS2 sequences.  J. Entomol. Sci. 46:191-203.

Li, C., R. Gitaitis, and N. Schmidt 2010. Detection of Onion Postharvest Diseases by Analyses of Headspace Volatiles using a Gas Sensor Array and GC-MS. LWT – Food Science and Technology. 44: 1019-1025.

Wang, Z., D.B. Langston, A.S. Csinos, R.D. Gitaitis, R.R. Walcott, and P. Ji. 2009. Development of an improved isolation approach and simple sequence repeat markers to characterize Phytophthora capsici populations in irrigation ponds in southern Georgia. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75:5467-5473.

Li, C., R. Gitaitis, B. Tollner, P. Sumner, and D. MacLean.  2009.  Onion sour skin detection using a gas sensor array and support vector machine. Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety 3:193-202.

*Nischwitz, C., A.S. Csinos, S.W. Mullis, L.L. Hickman, K.L. Stevenson, and R.D. Gitaitis. 2008. Effect of transplant age, tobacco cultivar, acibenzolar-S-methyl, and imidacloprid on tomato spotted wilt infection in flue-cured tobacco. Plant Dis. 92:1524-1528.

*Nischwitz, C., H.R. Pappu, 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. 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.  Annual Review 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.

Tollner, E.W., R.D. Gitiatis, 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.

Diaz-Perez, J.C., D. Giddings, D. Bertrand, H. Sanders, W.M. Randle, R. Walcott, and R. Gitaitis.  2004.  Effect of Mulch and Irrigation System on Sweet Onion: I. Bolting, Plant Growth, and Bulb Yield and Quality.  J. Am. Hort. Soc.  129:218-224.

Gitaitis R.D., R.R.**Walcott, H.F. Sanders, L. **Zolobowska and J.C. Diaz-Perez .  2004.  Effects of Mulch and Irrigation System on Sweet Onion: II. The Epidemiology of Center Rot.   J. Am. Hort. Soc.  129:225-230.

**Walcott, R.R., R.D. Gitaitis, and D.B. Langston, Jr.  2004.  Detection of Botrytis aclada in onion seed using magnetic capture hybridization and the polymerase chain reaction. Seed Sci. & Tech. 32:425-438.

Gitaitis, R.D., R.R.**Walcott, M.L. Wells, J.C. Diaz Perez and F.H. Sanders.  2003.  Transmission of Pantoea ananatis, causal agent of center rot of onion, by tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca.  Plant Dis. 87:675-678.

*Walcott, R.R., R.D. Gitaitis, and A.C. Castro. 2003.  Role of blossoms in watermelon seed infestation by Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli.  Phytopathology 93: 528-534.

Gitaitis, R., R. **Walcott, S. Culpepper, H. Sanders, L. Zolobowska, and D. Langston.  2002.  Recovery of Pantoea ananatis, causal agent of center rot of onion, from weeds and crops in Georgia, USA.  Crop Protection 21: 983-989.

**Walcott, R.R., R.D. Gitaitis, A.C. Castro, F.H. Sanders Jr., and J.C. Diaz-Perez. 2002. Natural infestation of onion seed by Pantoea ananatis, causal agent of center rot. Plant Dis. 86:106-111.

Wells, M.L., R.D. Gitaitis and F.H. Sanders.  2002.  The Association of tobacco thrips. Frankliniella fusca, (Thysanoptera:Thripidae) with two species of bacteria of the genus Pantoea.   Annals of the Entomological Society of America 95:719-723.

Shahin, M.A., E.W. Tollner, R.D. Gitaitis, D.R. Sumner, and B.W. Maw  2002.  Classification of sweet onions based on internal defects using image processing and neural network techniques. Transactions of the ASAE. Vol. 45(5): 1613–1618

*Walcott, R.R., D.B. Langston, Jr., F.H. Sanders, Jr., and R.D. Gitaitis.  2000.  Investigating intraspecific variation of Acidivorax avenae subsp. citrulli using DNA fingerprinting and whole cell fatty acid analysis.  Phytopathology 90:191-196.

*Walcott, R.R. and R.D. Gitaitis.  2000.  Detection of Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli using immunomagnetic separation and the polymerase chain reaction.  Plant Dis. 84:470-474.

Tollner, E. W., M. A. Shahin, B. W. Maw, R. D. Gitaitis, and D. R. Sumner.  1999.  Classification of onions based on internal defects using imaging processing and neural network techniques.  ASAE/CSAR-SCGR Annual International Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 18-21 July, 1999.  19 pp.

Gitaitis, R.D., C.C. Dowler, and R.B. Chalfant.  1998.  Epidemiology of tomato spotted wilt in pepper and tomato in southern Georgia.  Plant Dis. 82: 752-756.

Gitaitis, R., G. MacDonald, R. Torrance, R. Hartley, D. R. Sumner, J.D. Gay, and W.C. Johnson, III.  1998.  Bacterial streak and bulb rot of sweet onion II.  Epiphytic survival of Pseudomonas viridiflava in association with multiple weed hosts.  Plant Dis. 82:935-938.

Gitaitis, R.D., D. Sumner, D. Gay, D. Smittle, G. McDonald, B. Maw, W.C. Johnson, III, B. Tollner, and Y. Hung.  1997.  Bacterial streak and bulb rot of onion:  I. A. Diagnostic Medium for Semiselective Isolation and Enumeration of Pseudomonas viridiflava.  Plant Dis. 81:897-900.

Gleason, M.L., R.D. Gitaitis, and M.D. Ricker.  1993.  Recent progress in understanding and controlling bacterial canker of tomato in eastern North America.  Plant Dis. 77:1069-1076.

Gitaitis, R., S. McCarter, and J. Jones.  1992.  Tomato transplants produced in Georgia and Florida:  Their diseases and control.  Plant Dis. 76:651-656.

Gitaitis, R D., R.E. Baird, R.W. Beaver, D.R. Sumner, J.D. Gay, and D.A. Smittle.  1991.  Bacterial blight of sweet onion caused by Pseudomonas viridiflava in Vidalia, Georgia.  Plant Dis. 75:1180-1182.

Gitaitis, R.D., R.W. Beaver, and A.E. Voloudakis**.  1991.  Detection of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis in tomato transplants with latent infections of bacterial canker.  Plant Dis. 75:834-838.

Gitaitis, R.D., C. J. Chang, K. Sijam, and C.C. Dowler.  1991.  A differential medium for semiselective isolation of Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria and other cellulolytic xanthomonads from various natural sources.  Plant Dis. 75:1274-1278.

**Voloudakis, A.E., R.D. Gitaitis, J.K. Westbrook, S C. Phatak, and S.M. McCarter.  1991.  Epiphytic survival of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae and P. s. pv. tomato on tomato transplants in southern Georgia.  Plant Dis. 75:672-675.

Gitaitis, R.D.  1990.  Induction of a hypersensitive-like reaction in four o’clock by Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis.  Plant Disease 74:58-60.

Gitaitis, R.D., and R.W. Beaver.  1990.  Characterization of fatty acid methyl ester content of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis.  Phytopathology 80:318-321.

Gitaitis, R.D., J.D. Hamm, and P.F. Bertrand.  1988.  Differentiation of Xanthomonas campestris pv. pruni from other yellow-pigmented bacteria by the refractive quality of bacterial colonies on an agar medium.  Plant Disease 72:416-417.

**McInnes, T.B., R.D. Gitaitis, S.M. McCarter, C.A. Jaworski, and S.C. Phatak.  1988.  Airborne dispersal of bacteria in tomato and pepper transplant fields.  Plant Disease 72:575-579.

Gitaitis, R.D., M.J. Sasser, R.W. Beaver, T.B. **McInnes, and R.E. Stall.  1987.  Pectolytic xanthomonads in mixed infections with Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, P. syringae pv. tomato, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria in tomato and pepper transplants.  Phytopathology 77:611-615.

Gitaitis, R.D., D.K. Bell, and D.A. Smittle.  1986.  Epidemiology and control of bacterial blight and canker of cowpea.  Plant Disease 70:187-190.

Jones, J.B., R.D. Gitaitis, and S.M. McCarter. 1986.  Fluorescence on single-carbon sources for separation of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, P. syringae pv. tomato, and P. viridiflava on tomato transplants.  Plant Disease 70:151-153.

Bonn, W.G., R.D. Gitaitis, and B.H. MacNeil.  1985.  Epiphytic survival of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato on tomato transplants shipped from Georgia.  Plant Disease 69:58-60.

Gitaitis, R.D., J.B. Jones, C.A. Jaworski, and S.C. Phatak.  1985. Incidence and development of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae on tomato transplants in Georgia.  Plant Disease 69:32-35.

Jones, J.B., R.D. Gitaitis, and S.M. McCarter.  1983.  Evaluation of indirect immunofluorescence and ice nucleation activity as rapid tests for identifying bacterial diseases of tomato transplants.  Plant Disease 67:684-687.

Gitaitis, R.D.  1983.  Two resistant responses in cowpea induced by different strains of Xanthomonas campestris pv. vignicola.  Plant Diseas 67:1025-1028.

McCarter, S.M., J.B. Jones, R.D. Gitaitis, and D.R. Smitley.  1983.  Survival of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato in association with tomato seed, soil, host tissue, and epiphytic weed hosts in Georgia.  Phytopathology 73:1393-1398.

Gitaitis, R.D., and S.S. Nilakhe.  1982.  Detection of Xanthomonas campestris pv. vignicola in southern pea seed.  Plant Disease 66:20-22.

Gitaitis, R.D., S.C. Phatak, C.A. Jaworski, and M.W. Smith.  1982.  Resistance in tomato transplants to bacterial speck.  Plant Disease 66:210-211.

Gitaitis, R.D., D.A. Samuelson, and J.O. Strandberg.  1981.  Scanning electron microscopy of ingress and establishment of Pseudomonas alboprecipitans in sweet corn leaves.  Phytopathology 71:171-175.

Jones, J.B., S.M. McCarter, and R.D. Gitaitis.  1981.  Association of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae with a leafspot disease of tomato transplants in southern Georgia.  Phytopathology 71:1281-1285.

Gitaitis, R.D., R.E. Stall, and J.O. Strandberg.  1978.  Dissemination and survival of Pseudomonas alboprecipitans ascertained by disease distribution.  Phytopathology 68:227-231.