Pests and Diseases, Trends

US: Stealth potato virus threatens industry

Newer strains of potato virus Y spread by aphids cause damage to the flesh of the tubers.Newly emerged viruses threaten the U.S. potato industry, including potatoes grown in Washington. More than 85 percent of potatoes from the state’s Columbia Basin feed our french fry habit. As demand for fries continues to rise, the pressure on U.S. growers to produce perfect potatoes is intensifying. Several newly evolved strains of the disease known as potato virus Y, or PVY, can render potatoes unmarketable and reduce crop yield. What’s worse is the new viruses are particularly difficult to detect with the naked eye. “In the last five years or so that we’ve been watching this, the common PVY-O strain appears to be becoming less common and new strains, such as PVY-NO and PVY-NTN, are becoming more common,” said Washington State University potato specialist Mark Pavek. More

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