A research project in New Zealand is determining if different field soils affect development of powdery scab on potatoes, and whether soil physical, chemical and/or biological characteristics influence this important potato disease. The project is developing new knowledge that may provide a basis for manipulating soil factors to reduce the harmful effects of the powdery scab pathogen. A cross-discipline team is working in the project, including plant pathologists, soil scientists and molecular biologists. In the study’s first phase, 12 field soils (including the soil from the 10-year Pukekohe trial site) have been evaluated for disease “conduciveness”, and their physical, chemical and biological characteristics are being determined. Data gathered from these different analyses will be integrated to determine if individual or combinations of soil physical, chemical or biological characteristics are associated with suppression of Spongospora diseases. Information about the project is available from research lead, Prof Richard Falloon, at Richard.Falloon@plantandfood.co.nz. Further details can be found on this page of the Potatoes NZ website.