North America, Pests and Diseases, Processing, fries, chips, Studies/Reports, Trends

Zebra chip pathogen found in Canada’s Alberta province

Zebra chip disease, which causes harmless but unsightly stripes in potato chips, costs producers millions of dollars annually in New Zealand and the United States. Now the zebra chip pathogen has been found for the first time in Western Canada. To be clear, explains University of Lethbridge professor Dan Johnson, who headed the Canadian potato psyllid and zebra chip monitoring network, zebra chip has not yet begun to affect potato production in Canada. So far, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso), the zebra chip pathogen, has been detected in small numbers of potato psyllids — the pathogen’s insect vector — in Alberta. But the pathogen has not yet been found in any potato plant tissue. “There’s no infection of potatoes and no symptoms. So there’s no zebra chip yet, which is good news. But it’s likely to turn up,” he says. Johnson’s monitoring project has not been renewed, but the discovery of the zebra chip pathogen is a game-changer for the industry. More

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