The Palisade Peach Festival will bring its famous fruit back to Colorado this summer, but unfortunately, the Centennial State's delicacy is under attack.

According to a press release from Colorado State University, a fungal pathogen known as Cytospora is killing peach trees across the state — an epidemic that is halving the lifespan of trees and costing industry farmers millions of dollars annually.

Thankfully, plant and fungal biologist Jane Stewart, an assistant professor in CSU's Department of Agricultural Biology, is studying the pathogen to determine how to defeat it.

Scientists can identify Cytospora through canker wounds, which appear on a tree's bark when the fungus is present. Stewart and her team will analyze these wounds to see how the pathogen moves through orchards and how farming practices influence its growth.

"We are looking at combatting this disease from a molecular standpoint, as well as from cultural practices of growers," said Stewart in the release.

Thanks to the help of graduate student Stephan Miller, Stewart has already developed a preventative treatment plan for the pathogen.

Through new funding, she and graduate student Sean Wright hope to find an economically feasible way to combat the spread of Cytospora — and save Colorado's peaches.

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