Cultivation/Production, Pests and Diseases, Research

Canada: New weapon against Verticillium

Gefu Wang-Pruski of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia is among the research scientists in Canada studying Verticillium. All photos: Gefu Wang-Pruski.Potato producers have wrestled with Verticillium wilt for decades. Because some of the Verticillium pathogens can stay present in soil for 10 to 15 years, it’s a long-term problem that can be notoriously difficult to control, never mind test for. A new tool for helping growers successfully combat the pathogen that plays a role in potato early dying (PED) complex could be available within a couple of years, thanks to the work of Canadian Verticillium researchers. Mario Tenuta, Canada Research Chair in Applied Soil Ecology at the University of Manitoba, is the lead researcher for a Verticillium wilt study that’s part of a five-year research project into potato diseases being funded by producers, industry partners and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Growing Forward 2 program. Tenuta’s top priority is to develop a viable, commercial test for detecting the Verticillium fungus in soil. While some tests already exist, they are expensive, take a long time to conduct and are largely unreliable, Tenuta says. More

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