Pests and Diseases, Trends

Dickeya: A new threat to potato production in North America

A potato in August 2015 infected with Dickeya dianthicola, a bacteria that causes the rotting disease blackleg. Photo: Steve Johnson.In 2015, a new blackleg pathogen emerged in the Eastern United States that caused significant losses in some potato producing areas. The pathogen was confirmed as Dickeya dianthicola, and there are concerns the disease could spread to Canada. That’s because Dickeya can spread over long distances, and across national borders, in infected vegetative propagating material. Dickeya species were first reported on potatoes in the Netherlands in the 1970s and have since been detected in many other European countries. Yield reductions of 20 to 25 per cent or higher resulting from Dickeya infections have been reported on various potato cultivars in Europe and the Middle East. Prior to the Dickeya outbreak in the U.S. in 2015, it’s likely Dickeya was present in seed potatoes and farms in the affected states for at least a few years. More

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