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Spore trapping: Another tool in managing potato late blight

Control of late blight is mostly achieved through fungicide application, and growers anticipate that late blight control requires routine applications of fungicides at high rates and short intervals throughout the growing season, beginning at 50 per cent emergence. This is an unsustainable situation that is now being questioned, according to potato expert Prof Khalil Al-Mughrabi, ‎Plant Pathologist & Adjunct Professor at the ‎Government of New Brunswick in Canada. A more rational approach, he says, based on measured data such as the amount of pathogen in the air and the probability of infection by the pathogen based on weather conditions, could help growers, specialists and industry consultants to use fungicides more efficiently (only when needed) and to reduce the number of applications. Spore traps detect the presence of late blight spores in the air before infection takes place and before symptoms are visible in the field. Different types of spore traps are available. More