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Potato blight map reveals distribution of disease in Europe

Late blight genotype 2015 samples (courtesy Euroblight website)
“The industry has an effective range of fungicides with which to manage late blight but the pathogen population is able to evolve rapidly and it is important that management practices are also updated when required.

An international consortium including the James Hutton Institute which tracks the European spatial distribution of Phytophthora infestans, the plant pathogen responsible for potato late blight, has updated the distribution of the pathogen by adding new data that visualises the distribution and diversity of dominant clones and reveals novel genetically diverse isolates in some regions.

Plant pathologists from the EuroBlight consortium - which includes Aarhus University, Wageningen University and INRA - working with industry and research partners, have presented their second report on its pathogen monitoring in potato crops. The report, which is available on the research group website, collates information from over 600 samples collected in 2015.

As in previous years ‘FTA cards’ were distributed to disease ‘scouts’ from across the industry who visited blight-infected crops. Disease lesions were pressed on the cards and returned to the laboratories where the pathogen DNA was fingerprinted at Wageningen University and Research Centre, the James Hutton Institute and INRA, Rennes. The DNA fingerprint data was used to define the clonal lineages of the pathogen and combined with geo-location data to plot the diversity across Europe. Disease pressure was generally low in 2015 which restricted the sample distribution. However, over 600 samples were genotyped from across 16 European countries. This data also includes that from the AHDB Potatoes ‘Fight Against Blight’ campaign in Great Britain. The data from 2013-2015 comprise over 2800 samples from 30 countries.

James Hutton Institute researcher Dr David Cooke, who co-leads the EuroBlight study, said: “The industry has an effective range of fungicides with which to manage late blight but the pathogen population is able to evolve rapidly and it is important that management practices are also updated when required. For example, a new clone of Phytophthora infestans was discovered in The Netherlands and Germany in 2015 which we will track and further characterise over the 2016 season.

“A new European project also supported by Scottish Government funding is allowing us to examine the characteristics of the European P. infestans population in more detail. This will enable effective and integrated use of host resistance, fungicides and blight alerts for efficient future management of late blight. We also continue to expand the breadth of the Euroblight system to examine populations and support disease management in America, Asia and Africa.”

Scientists from the Euroblight network are in discussion with other networks in the Americas and Asia to promote continued co-operation between groups involved in managing late blight, which will help improve awareness and blight management on a global scale.

Companies and institutions that participated in the sampling and sponsored the project include ADAMA, AFBI, Agrifirm, Agriphar, AFBI, AHDB Potatoes, BASF SE, Bayer CropScience AG, Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft, Belchim Crop Protection, Centre Wallon de Recherches Agronomiques, Certis, Cheminova, CZAV, Dupont de Nemours, Emsland Group, Germicopa SAS, HZPC Holland B.V., Neiker, Nordisk Alkali, PCA, Profytodsd, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Syngenta Agro GmbH.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/potato-blight-map-reveals-distribution-disease-europe on 22/03/19 12:06:17 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.