You are here

Blackleg in potatoes – Rapid haulm destruction key to blackleg control

12 June 2016

Scientists are getting closer to discovering the origins of blackleg infection in potato seed crops. CPM finds out the latest research findings and how Scottish seed growers are acting on them.

"If blackleg gets in at the start of a five to six-year multiplication process then the levels of infection will increase year on year."

By Lucy de la Pasture

Over the past few seasons, blackleg has been the thorn in the side of Scottish seed producers, who otherwise are producing seed of the highest quality. In recent years, levels of blackleg have mysteriously begun to increase, with the disease now the number one reason for down-grading or failure of seed stocks.

The inevitable question is ‘why is this happening?’, says Prof Ian Toth, research theme leader at the James Hutton Institute. To try and understand the issue, AHDB Potatoes and SASA jointly funded a three-year project to identify the routes of blackleg contamination.

“We’re trying to understand how contamination gets into a high-grade seed crop in the first place,” he explains. “It’s important because if blackleg gets in at the start of a five to six-year multiplication process then the levels of infection will increase year on year.

“So we’ve been looking at first and second generation seed crops and trials and have found that even mini-tubers, which were clean to the best of our diagnostic knowledge, showed a build-up of bacterial contamination on the roots and stem bases as the season progressed,” he explains.


Source: CPM Magazine

Read the full story (external link) »

How useful did you find this information?
Only logged in users can vote. Click on a star rating to show your choice, please note you can only vote once.
Rating: 
0
No votes yet