Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) with Powdery Mildew Fungi
This exercise can be used to stimulate the investigative nature of learners as they use forensic plant pathology techniques to prove the learners' innocence in a mock murder investigation. Learners examine the cleistothecia of plant leaves infected with powdery mildew disease with a compound microscope to identify the type of appendages present. The fungi are identified to genus using the appendage type and the number of asci (spore-containing sacs) inside each cleistothecium using both a written and an illustrated key. Learners compare their samples to the evidence found at the scene of the crime to prove their own innocence. Note: This lab works best in regions that experience cold weather for part of the year.