Zebra chip pathogen found in Western Canada for the first time

Image result for zebra chip imageFor the first time, evidence of the zebra chip pathogen has been found in potato fields in southern Alberta, but the University of Lethbridge’s Dr. Dan Johnson cautions against panic. “So far, the zebra chip pathogen has appeared in only small numbers of potato psyllids,” says Johnson, a bio-geography professor and coordinator of the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network. “The number of potato psyllids in all Alberta sites is very low and many sample cards have found no evidence of the potato psyllid insect. Zebra chip does not normally become a problem unless the potato psyllids are found in much higher numbers than are currently being found in Canada.” An infected potato psyllid insect carries the Lso (Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum) pathogen that can cause zebra chip disease in potato crops. Zebra chip has affected potato crops in the United States, Mexico and New Zealand and caused millions of dollars in losses. Potatoes with zebra chip develop unsightly dark lines when fried, making affected potatoes unsellable. More

Potato diseases remain for Western Australia crop

Image result for Dickeya dianthicola potatoThe blight of the WA potato industry is worse than originally reported and it is unclear how and when things will improve now that WA farmers will have to live with the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) and Dickeya dianthicola bacteria. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) confirmed last week that five properties in the potato-growing areas north and south of Perth have had quarantines lifted after extensive work in tracing the origins of the Dickeya dianthicola bacteria. The bacteria was detected for the first time in June in a potato crop north of Perth, prompting an immediate biosecurity response. Dickeya dianthicola can cause blackleg and soft rot diseases in potatoes and affect other horticultural crops. DPIRD had developed a rapid and high-throughput PCR test for Dickeya dianthicola – the first of its kind to be used in Australia. More

NZ potato and tomato growers relieved at the release of pest eating wasp

A pest which has cost the New Zealand potato industry over $120 million since 2006 may be on the way out thanks to a wasp which has been released in Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury. The tamarixia trioaze, a wasp that comes from the United States and Mexico, destroys the tomato potato psyllid pest by laying an egg on the psyllid. The wasp eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the TPP. Eventually, the larvae will chew a hole through the TPP’s shell to emerge as an adult. Vegetable Research and Innovation Board coordinator Sally Anderson said the arrival of the wasp was a relief for greenhouse growers. More

US: Spud breeders focus on PCN-resistant russets

John O’Connell/Capital Press
Rich Novy, right, a potato breeder with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, Idaho, saves breeding clones crossed from an Irish parent with late blight resistance while evaluating more than 100,000 first-year “single hill” clones Sept. 28 in trials hosted in Aberdeen.A project underway in Aberdeen, Idaho, aims to develop russet potatoes with resistance to pale cyst nematode, while identifying new molecular markers associated with resistance. Researchers with the local potato breeding program harvested a special block of first-year clones on Sept. 29, screened for their ability to help the industry cope with potato cyst nematode. The block contained a half dozen plants from each of 223 breeding clones resulting from crosses of Western Russet and Eden, a round Scottish variety with known resistance to potato cyst nematode. Joe Kuhl, a University of Idaho associate professor of plant genetics, will also use clones from the plot in genetic mapping research to identify new genes associated with PCN resistance. Kuhl said he’s midway through a five-year project focused on breeding PCN-resistant russets, funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. More

Mexico: Zebra Chip-tolerant potatoes for the fresh market identified

Over the past few years, the potato production of US, Mexico, New Zealand and Central America has been under threat by Zebra Chip (ZC), a disease associated with the Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum bacteria, vectored by the potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli). The disease turns part of the amide in soluble sugars so, when potatoes are cooked, sugars caramelise and streaks appear. Of course ZC is currently monitored with pesticides, but sustainable defence requires the development of resistant and/or tolerant varieties. Entomologists from the University of California Riverside, together with researchers from INIFAP (Mexico), characterised four promising potato lines (246, 865, 510, NAU) exposed to Cls-positive adult psyllids and monitored the vector’s behaviour towards the plants and the effects of the bacteria on the tubers. The potato lines were compared to ZC-susceptible variety Atlantic. More

Bio-sector in the Netherlands band together in effort to find sustainable solution for potato late blight

In the Netherlands, Aldi and Lidl recently signed a covenant titled ‘Accelerated transition towards resistant/robust potato varieties’. Signees also include Albert Heijn and Jumbo Supermarkets. Superunie, the purchasing organization representing thirteen independent supermarket organizations in the Netherlands, intends to sign the covenant shortly. Potato seed companies who signed the covenant include Agrico, HZPC, C. Meijer, Plantera, Den Hartigh, Europlant, Danespo, Caithness Potatoes and Plantum. With this agreement, the biological sector wants to provide a sustainable response to the feared potato disease, late blight. Continue reading

Webcast: Management practices for corky ringspot

Image result for corky ring spot potatoThe Plant Management Network has released a presentation by Michigan State University professor of nematology, George W. Bird, on management practices for corky ringspot This is a disease caused by the tobacco rattle virus and vectored by stubby-root nematodes. Usual symptoms are concentric rings on tuber skin and internal flesh. Bird’s presentation is designed to assist growers in all potato growing regions, in understanding and managing corky ringspot. The presentation contains information about the typical symptoms of the disease, and how growers can sample for the stubby root nematode. It further covers management strategies of containment, exclusion and nematode population control. Special attention is also given to chemical and biological control options, and the topic of soil health. More

UK: Late blight pressure at independent Eurofins trials site

A surge in late blight pressure on the independent Eurofins trials site in Derbyshire has developed into one of the best tests of potato blight fungicides for many years. One trial, designed to mirror the Euroblight categorisation under UK conditions and native blight strains, has underlined the importance of the rating, along with some interesting developments during 2017, reported Syngenta Potato Field Technical Manager, Douglas Dyas.  This year one trial protocol tested 13 different fungicides with single product use at weekly application right through the season; “infector” rows between plots were inoculated with strains of blight and managed to induce high blight pressure across the site. “Although in practice all growers and agronomists would select and alternate different blight products in a programme through the season, the trial is a genuine test of any fungicide active’s true capability, and how it performs under UK conditions with evolving blight strains,” advocated Douglas.  Continue reading

Dedicated coordinator to manage tomato potato psyllid in Australia

Image result for tomato potato psyllidThe National Management Group (NMG) for tomato potato psyllid (TPP) – comprising all Australian governments, affected industries and Plant Health Australia – has agreed to a transition to a management phase to manage the ongoing impacts of TPP and risks of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) in Australia. The transition to management phase of the response plan, which will conclude on 11 May 2018, will improve the capacity of the horticulture sector to manage TPP and build confidence around the status of CLso in Australia. This follows an earlier decision by the NMG that it is no longer technically feasible to eradicate TPP in Western Australia. To date, the CLso associated with TPP has not been detected in Australia. This exotic pathogen causes the serious exotic disease ‘zebra chip’ in potato. The announcement follows the appointment of a dedicated TPP Coordinator to help the vegetable and potato industries coordinate this response. More

Cornell Nematode Quarantine Laboratory gets $400,000 from USDA

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer greets people at the NematodeGolden and pale cyst nematodes threaten New York’s $65 million potato industry. To help protect the vegetable, as well as soybeans and other crops that could be harmed by invasive nematode species, the USDA is committing $400,000 in federal funding to the Nematode Quarantine Laboratory at Cornell University. The USDA has made a verbal commitment to provide the funding for a new growth chamber, which includes plans for new equipment and blueprints at the new facility. In October 2016, the facility received $1.2 million for upgrades from the state. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer sent a letter to USDA Administrator Chavonda Jacobs-Young in June requesting new funding. The discovery of nematodes led to countries, including Mexico, Canada, Japan and South Korea, installing bans on the import of potatoes from Idaho. Cornell University scientists conduct research to prevent a similar epidemic from happening in New York and elsewhere. More

Tomato potato psyllid: Researcher warns incursion inevitable on the east coast of Australia

Bactericera cockerelli, nymph cases, nymph and adultA researcher says it’s inevitable a destructive insect that has threatened tomato and potato crops in Western Australia will make it to the east coast. The tomato potato psyllid feeds on tomato, potato, capsicum, chilli, eggplant and sweet potato crops, and was first found in Western Australia in February. Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture PhD candidate Raylea Rowbottom co-ordinated workshops in Queensland to raise awareness about the pest. “The biggest problem is that they still don’t know how the psyllid got into the Western Australia area so it’s possible it could turn up at any time (on the east coast),” she said. “Especially given they’re not even sure if it came across on the wind, so the risk is still there. “Really it’s only a matter of time I think before we do get the psyllid.” She said the nature of the insect meant it could travel east on a variety of hosts. Rowbottom said the insect was difficult to detect, and she urged farmers to join surveillance programs. More

US: National Potato Council awards Academic Scholarship for Potato Research

National Potato Council awards scholarship to Adrienne Gorny for nematode researchThe National Potato Council (NPC) last week announced that Adrienne Gorny, a fourth-year doctoral student in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University, is the recipient of the 2017-2018 NPC Academic Scholarship. The $10,000 award is provided annually to a graduate student with a strong interest in research that can directly benefit the potato industry. Gorny’s work focuses on the quantitative epidemiology of Northern root-knot and lesion nematodes in potatoes. Her research is squarely focused on helping the potato industry make informed decisions about nematode control measures. Gorny wants to quantify yield loss due to nematodes by measuring pre-plant density of the nematode population. “What’s really cool is that I’m measuring the DNA of nematodes in the soil, extracting DNA from soil and measuring bar code regions. It is faster than the traditional method and potentially more accurate” she explained. More

Dutch company Solynta claims that it developed blight resistant potato varieties

Foto ANPIt is widely reported in the Dutch press today that potato breeding company Solynta in the Netherlands has developed potato varieties that are resistant to potato late blight (Phytophthora). The varieties will be introduced to the public during a field day held by the company at its premises in Wageningen, the Netherlands later this week (Aug 23). Late blight is responsible for losses to farmers in the order of around € 10 billion worldwide, despite intensive use of pesticides. In the Netherlands, the cost for the almost ninety thousand potato growers is estimated at € 150 million according to figures released by Wageningen University. Phytophthora has thus far being able to evade successful resistance by most commercially produced potato varieties. Solynta’s director, Hein Kruyt, reportedly says his company is capable of breeding potato varieties with multiple disease resistance genes – as many as three, four or even more. He says Solynta has developed late blight resistant potato varieties with a “stable parental line”.  Continue reading

Scottish potato seed sector battles with blackleg

Scotland currently produces 75% of the UK's seed potatoesMajor players in Scotland’s seed potato industry, as well as myriad public sector organisations and the Scottish Government, are teaming up to fund new research into the devastating crop disease, blackleg. According to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), blackleg caused the downgrade of 8% of Scottish seed crops in 2011. The disease spurs the soft rot of potatoes and can even kill off entire potato plants. In addition to the Scottish Government, the £242,000 research project has been sponsored by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, with McCain Potatoes Ltd, Greenvale AP, Cygnet Potato Breeders Ltd, Agrico UK Ltd, APS BioControl Ltd, HZPC, Caithness Potatoes Ltd, Branston Ltd, and Techneat Engineering also supporting the study. Report by The Scottish Potato Farmer

Irish research project funded to develop nanosensors for quick disease detection

Image result for “A vital step in addressing barley and potato crop disease is the implementation of adequate surveillance strategies so that rapid, in-field diagnosis can be made,” said Dr Alan O’Riordan, research fellow at Tyndall National Institute. Scope will develop prototype nanosensors by combining all parties’ expertise in crop pathology, immunochemistry and nanotechnology.Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Dublin City University and Teagasc are teaming up to research crop disease in Ireland. Backed with a €1m investment from the Department of Agriculture, a number of research institutions are looking to get to the bottom of crop disease. Ireland’s two most important crops are barley and potato, and disease poses a significant challenge to these and many other strands of agriculture. With that in mind, SCOPE, a research project addressing the issue, brings researchers from several institutions together to investigate the problem and develop an antibody-based sensor Continue reading