Dr. Consuelo Estévez de Jensen, Ph.D.
Department of Agro-Environmental Sciences
Dr. Consuelo Estévez de Jensen, Doctor of Philosophy (2001) in Plant Pathology and Master in Soil Science (1991) degrees from the University of Minnesota. As a Postdoctoral Associate led the common bean root rot research to establish management practices to control the disease in Minnesota (2001-2003). At the present, Dr. Estevez de Jensen holds a professor position at the University of Puerto Rico and is the Director of the Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the Substation of Fortuna. Her research in plant diseases involves diagnostics and management of emerging diseases in fruit trees and vegetables. She is part of the Citrus Clean Plant Network (CCPN) that aims to support the production of tested Citrus plants for vascular diseases. The CCPN also investigates the tolerance to Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus of Citrus sp. genotypes. Dr. Estevez de Jensen has mentored undergraduate (>25) and graduate students (15). She has organized workshops for disease diagnostics in the Biotechnology Laboratory of the “Instituto de Investigação Agrária Mozambique (IIAM), the Instituto de Investigação Agronómica (IIA) in Angola and the EAP-Zamorano in Honduras. With her expertise in soil microbiology, she has trained researchers and agronomist from Central American countries in the Technology of Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF). During 2013-2015, produced Rhizobium inoculants for common beans in Haiti, that reached 20,000 producers. She collaborated in the Feed the Future-USAID Project to breed/evaluate new germplasm combining BNF with N use efficiency (2005-2017) and was the Co-PI of the Legume Innovation Lab (USDA). This project aims the Development, Testing, and dissemination of Genetically Improved Bean Cultivars for Central America, the Caribbean and Angola. She is currently an active member of the American Phytopathology Society (APS).
Research project title: Evaluation of new alternatives to control bacterial diseases in tomato
Student Mentee: Luis Cuebas Alberty
Bacterial diseases limit tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in the southern vegetable production areas in Puerto Rico. In the last years, outbreaks of bacterial pathogens have affected tomato grown under greenhouses, and there is not effective commercial fungicides and bactericides for disease control. Bacterial strains are already resistant to the copper-based products that growers apply as a preventive measure. The use of bacteriophages that destroy bacteria in a process called “lysis” is an alternative that can be explored. Lysing begins the moment a phage comes in contact with a bacterium and results in a release of additional phage. The research will evaluate a commercial product formulated for the bacteria in the tomato producing areas in Puerto Rico and will determine the effectiveness to manage bacterial diseases in tomato.