William W. Kirk, Ph.D.

William W. Kirk

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Associate Professor
Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences


Dundee University, Scotland, UK. Ph.D

Dr. Kirk is currently associate professor of plant pathology at Michigan State University and has been extension specialist for potatoes since 1995. Kirk’s appointment is 50:50 (research:extension). In addition to potatoes Kirk also has responsibilities for extension pathology and research on sugarbeet and herbaceous perennials. The program concentrates on major production problems in Michigan including potato foliar diseases (late and early blight), potato seed and soil borne diseases (Rhizoctonia stem canker, common scab, Fusarium dry rot, Verticillium wilt, Oomycete diseases of tubers). A major emphasis of the program is to establish predictive models in co-operation with meteorological departments at MSU and Western Michigan University for various potato diseases in order to apply timely and appropriate control measures. The overall aim is to reduce production costs without compromising crop yield or quality through an understanding of the interactions of the pathogen with its host and environment. Kirk has an extensive collaborative outreach program in disease management, and has more recently been involved with sustainable agriculture projects and currently teaches Plant Pathology graduate students at MSU.

Websites of Interest:


  1. Wanner, L., Kirk,W., Xinshun, Q. 2013. Field efficacy of non-pathogenic Streptomyces species against potato common scab. Journal of Applied Microbiology. (In press).
  2. Rojas, A., E. Gachango, D. Douches, L. Hanson and W. Kirk. 2013. Tuber blight development in potato cultivars in response to different genotypes of Phytophthora infestans. Journal of Phytopathology. (In press).
  3. Miles, T.D., Fairchild, K.L., Merlington, A, Kirk, W.W., Rosenzweig, N. and Wharton, P.S. 2013 First Report of Boscalid and Penthiopyrad-Resistant Isolates of Alternaria solani Causing Early Blight of Potato in Michigan. Plant Disease. (In press).
  4. Trueman, C., Kirk, W., Hanson, L.E., 2013. First report of QoI insensitive Cercospora beticola on sugarbeet in Ontario, Canada. Plant Disease. (In press).
  5. Kirk,W.,  Gachango, E., Schafer, R and Wharton. S. 2013. Effects of in-season crop-protection combined with postharvest applied fungicide on suppression of potato storage diseases caused by Fusarium pathogens. Crop Protection. 51: 77-84.
  6. Kirk, W.W., Sprague, C.L., and Hanson, L.E. 2013. Glyphosate and fungicide effects on Cercospora leaf spot in four glyphosate-resistant sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris) varieties. Crop Protection. 44: 38-43.
  7. Wharton, P. S., W. Kirk, R. L. Schafer and P. Tumbalam. 2012. Evaluation of biological seed treatments in combination with management practices for the control of seed-borne late blight in potato. Biological Control. 63: 226-333.
  8. Gachango, E., Hanson, L.E., Rojas, A., Hao, J.J., and Kirk,W.W. Fusarium spp. 2012. Causing dry rot of seed potato tubers in Michigan and their sensitivity to fungicides. Plant Disease 96: 1767-1774.
  9. Miles, L.A., Miles, T. D., Kirk W., and Schilder, A. M. C. 2012. Screening for strobilurin (QoI) resistance in populations of Erysiphe necator on grapes in Michigan. Plant Disease 96: 1621-1628.
  10. Gachango, E., Kirk,W., Wharton, P.S., Schafer, R. 2012. Evaluation and comparison of biocontrol and conventional fungicides for control of postharvest potato tuber diseases. Biological Control. 63:115-120.
  11. Kirk, W., Hanson, L.E., Franc, G.D., Stump, W.L., Gachango, E., Clark, G., and Stewart, J. 2012. First report of strobilurin resistance in Cercospora beticola in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) in Michigan and Nebraska, USA. New Disease Reports. 26, 3. [http://dx.doi.org/10.5197/j.2044-0588.2012.026.003].
  12. Gachango, E., Kirk,W. Schafer, R. 2012. Effects of in-season crop-protection combined with postharvest applied fungicide on suppression of potato storage diseases caused by oomycete pathogens. Crop Protection. 41:42-48.
  13. Soleimani, M.J. and Kirk, W. 2012. Enhance resistance to Alternaria alternata causing potato brown leaf spot disease by using some plant defense inducers. Jou. of Plant Protection  Res. 52:83-90.
  14. Woodhall, J.W., Belcher, A.R., Peters, J.C., Kirk, W.W., Wharton, P.S., 2012. First report of Rhizoctonia solani AG2-2IIIB infecting potato stems and stolons in the United States. Plant Disease 96:460-460.
  15. Zeng, W., Kirk. W., and Hao, J. J., 2012. Field management of soybean white mold using biol