Proficiency testing of potato cyst nematode (PCN) soil testing laboratories


The proficiency test was initiated by AHDB in response to industry concerns about the robustness of PCN laboratory testing services in GB. The test compared the proficiency of seven laboratories to assess the level of soil infestation by potato cyst nematode (PCN). There were three objectives: 

  1. To test the ability of each laboratory to distinguish PCN cysts from lemon cysts (Heterodera species) and other material which could be mistakenly identified as PCN.
  2. To test the ability of each laboratory to extract PCN cysts from mineral and organic soil and provide a count of cysts/100 g soil and eggs/g soil
  3. To test the ability of each laboratory to distinguish between cysts of white PCN (Globodera pallida) and yellow PCN ( G. rostochiensis).

The recommendations from the proficiency test (PT) were that:

  • further training should be provided to help improve the accuracy of PCN identification by some laboratories
  • proficiency tests should be repeated at regular intervals to ensure that the laboratories’ ability to undertake PCN extraction and quantification to an acceptable level of accuracy is maintained

These recommendations were carried out as part of the nematology fellowship project (1120017) supported by AHDB.


Project code:
01 August 2015 - 31 January 2016


1100006_final report_2016