Pacific Agro-Security

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The Pacific Agriculture Security Program was created to meet the challenge of protecting agriculture in the Pacific by:

  • promoting systems to aid in the rapid identification of plant pests through distance diagnostics using digital images,
  • developing molecular diagnostic tools and techniques,
  • expanding the surveillance of pest species throughout the Pacific, and
  • training students, extension personnel and agriculture inspectors in pest identification, diagnosis and management.


Participating Faculty at UHM's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Anne M. Alvarez, PhD, Plant Pathology (bacteria). More on Anne.

Brian J. S. Chee, Information Systems Security Officer. More about Brian's work

James R. Hollyer, Mgr. Agricultural Development in the American Pacific. More on Jim's work on On-Farm Food Safety.

John Hu, PhD Plant Pathology (viruses). More on John.

Daniel M. Jenkins, PhD Biosensors and Instrumentation. More on Dan.

Qingxiao Li, PhD, Environmental Biochemistry and Biotechnology More on Qingxiao.

Ania M. Wieczorek, PhD, Molecular Ecology and Biotechnology. More on Ania.

Mark G. Wright, PhD Extension Entomologist. More on Mark.

Program Contacts

Catherine Chan-Halbrendt, PhD
Associate Director for Research
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii-Manoa

Barry M. Brennan, PhD
Associate Director for Cooperative Extension
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii-Manoa


  • Agriculture Diagnostics Services Center
    • ADSC provides plant disease diagnosis, insect and nematode identification, feed and forage analyses, chemical analyses of plant tissues, water and nutrient solutions.
  • Select Agents Laboratory
  • Small Animal Facilities
    • CTAHR maintains a research animal holding and care facility including six animal holding rooms, two outside holding pens for livestock, a surgery room and prep rooms, three laboratory or procedure rooms, a cage wash, diet preparation kitchen and a certified pathological incinerator.
  • The Advanced Network Computing Lab
    • Expertise in secure, modular remote sensors which utilize commercial off the shelf components and are based upon open source software to provide easily maintained and easily upgraded sensor platforms with which to monitor critical food distribution facilities both mobile and stationary. Sensor packages include high resolution digital imagery in addition to flexible environmental monitoring carried over a self organizing and self healing ad hoc wireless network to provide both security and long term storage environment monitoring. Encryption levels are also modular and key length can be varied upon application as well as encryption methodology. (i.e. 3DS, RSA, Kerberos, etc) This is both a hardware and software application with some custom hardware to reduce overall power utilization and to reduce overall package size.

Current Projects          

The Western Plant Diagnostics Network (PDN) is a consortium of land grant institutions and state departments of agriculture that provide services for plant disease diagnosis, plant identification, and insect/pest identification. WPDN is part of the National PDN whose mission is to enhance national agricultural security by quickly detecting introduced pests and pathogens.

The Pacific Distance Diagnostics & Recommendation System is responsible for creating and maintaining digital images of plant pathogens, arthropods, and weeds that have been designated as potential agriculture bioterrorism agents. The System is a password protected web-based communication system permitting submission of digital images, access to management recommendation databases. It currently includes satellite labs in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Pohnpei, Rota and the Marshall Islands. Additional satellite labs will be added.


University and Homeland Security Workshop (July 1, 2003)