Across Regions, Equipment/Technology, Pests and Diseases

Reach for your pocket: Rapid tests provide cost-effective solution for potato disease diagnosis

Many growers, advisors and inspectors will be familiar with the symptoms of different potato diseases. However, getting a definitive confirmation of the presence of which disease is affecting a crop is important in preventing a pathogen from becoming a bigger problem.

“An easy way of getting a confirmation of the presence of a potato disease is by using rapid tests such as those from Pocket Diagnostic,” says the company’s Sales and Marketing Executive, Malcolm Briggs. “Rapid tests use the same lateral flow immunoassay technology as pregnancy tests and are a cost-effective option for potato disease diagnosis”.

Briggs points out that the Pocket Diagnostic® rapid tests were originally developed by the UK Government (Food & Environment Research Agency, FERA) for their plant health inspectors to use when testing for potato diseases.

Following the success of using the tests, the product range was spun-out from the UK government and is now manufactured and sold by Abingdon Health (York, UK). “Pocket Diagnostic® rapid tests are truly the simplest way to identify the symptoms of commercially damaging potato diseases,” says Briggs.

The tests are designed first and foremost for professionals working in the field, or those who do not have access to diagnostic laboratories. These tests are time and money saving devices which help catch a disease outbreak quickly.

Everything about the tests has been designed with field use in mind. This single-minded focus makes it easy for crop managers or plant health inspectors to test symptomatic plants where and when they are seen. Subsequently making quicker, on-the-spot decisions for crop disease management.

In addition, Pocket Diagnostic® rapid tests can be used at various stages within the growing cycle. That means there is an opportunity to confirm the presence or absence of disease all the way through the growing season.

Rapid tests form part of an overall plant disease management strategy that will help to produce good yield.

The Pocket Diagnostic® Rapid Tests will detect the following potato diseases

  • Phytophthora spp. (Blight)
  • Potato virus Y
  • Ralstonia solanacearum (the causal bacteria of Brown Rot in potatoes)

More information about the tests can be found here

The Phytophthora spp. rapid test can be purchased directly from the Canadian distributor

Pocket Diagnostic® is currently looking for new distributors, who are active in the food production and/or plant health diagnostics field, for our range of plant disease tests.

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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