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PCN and blackleg main topics at Cambridge potato conference

Potato industry challenges posed by PCN and blackleg were among the topics discussed at the recent Cambridge University Potato Growers’ Association (CUPGRA) annual conference, as Ken Fletcher, editor at The Scottish Farmer reports in this news article.

Scotland’s seed potato sector has an increasingly serious problem with the potato cyst nematode (PCN) species, globodera pallida, warned specialist potato agronomist, Eric Anderson, of Scottish Agronomy.

“A detectable PCN infestation in a statutory soil sample is a result of what has happened over the past 30-40 years. This means our industry needs a Plan B,” Mr Anderson said. This is a real threat to both the Scottish seed and ware industries, he argued.

Root damage by free living nematodes (FLN) may be an important factor in blackleg (pectobacterium atrosepticum) infection, revealed Prof Ian Toth, of the James Hutton Institute, who held a workshop to discuss his latest research at the event.

Researching the relationship between FLN and blackleg has been challenging, as FLN are difficult to observe, but he and his team were able to look at the physical root damage caused by the pest, which may open a way for the blackleg bacteria to enter.

Source: The Scottish Farmer. Read the full article here
Photo: Scottish Agronomy’s Eric Anderson reckons PCN resistant varieties are a must for Scotland. Photo credit The Scottish Farmer

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