James Hutton Institute: New research to shed light into mechanisms of potato blight infection

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and partner institutions are set to explore previously undiscovered mechanisms through which the pathogen responsible for late blight in potato, Phytophthora infestans, breaks through cell walls to infect plants. The main research hypothesis of the project is that there are other factors that influence the establishment of P. infestans in a crop and identifying these will provide new targets for crop protection strategies.

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Canadian scientists help to develop new weapon in the war against wireworms

For many years, farmers have struggled with limited options to control wireworms, leading to crop damage and loss. Now, thanks to support efforts from three Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientists, farmers have a new wireworm defence in their arsenal. The AAFC researchers have been assessing the performance of Broflanilide on cereal and potato crops at the Harrington Research Farm in PEI, the Agassiz Research Farm in BC, and with local farmers.

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Potato Soil Health Project: Webinar now available on demand

In this recorded webinar, hosted by Spudman magazine, you’ll hear from researchers for the USDA/SCRI funded Potato Soil Health Project and learn about what they’ve discovered through research. The panel will introduce three distinct aspects of the program. The webinar is now available to watch at your convenience.

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Potato breeder to plant first field generation of crosses with greening resistance

The potato breeder with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen is using genetics from a wild spud relative to develop crosses that won’t turn green when exposed to light. Richard Novy, potato breeder with the agency’s Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Facility, plans to plant the first field generation of crosses developed to resist tuber greening this spring.

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Gene-Altered Attitudes: The gene revolution turns 25

Roger Beachy still remembers the excitement of planting the first genetically altered food crop into United States soils. It was the summer of 1987 when he, along with a team of Monsanto scientists, transplanted tomatoes modified to resist a virus at the company’s research farm, near Jerseyville, Illinois. It would take almost a full decade before transgenic plants gained a serious foothold in U.S. soils, and they would not be those the idealistic young scientist envisioned.

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Research: AI model successfully predicts potato susceptibility to bruising and acrylamide formation

JADBio is an information technology company based in the US and Greece, focused on BioMed and Multi-omics. In a recent experiment, researchers at JADBio collected data from 478 potato samples from potatoes grown in Germany (including climate, soil, and metabolic profiles) in order to create a model capable of differentiating potatoes that resist bruising from those that don’t, and also to predict the potatoes’ susceptibility to acrylamide formation during chip/crisp processing.

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Pest and Disease Management Seminar: Powdery scab and potato mop-top virus

Miller Research in Idaho will today host another of its 1-hour virtual seminars on potato pest and disease management. Dr. Jeff Miller and colleagues will discuss recent research related to managing powdery scab, including the value of soil testing, selecting resistant varieties, and the use of fungicides for control.

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Zebrachip disease and potato psyllid: EFSA survey card helps preparing surveillance plans

Scientists recently updated the pest survey card that was prepared in the context of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) mandate on plant pest surveillance at the request of the European Commission. The authors say in the introduction to the document that its purpose is to guide the Member States in preparing data and information required for surveys of the causal agent of the zebra chip disease

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Researchers invited to submit papers on disease identification and quantification

For this Special Issue of Digital Plant Pathology for Precision Agriculture, scientists are encouraged to submit their most recent research on disease identification and quantification from leaf- to field scale, sensing plant-pathogen interactions, sensor based plant protection, and on highly sophisticated sensor data analysis methods. The editors of the journal explicitly invite manuscripts in four areas of research.

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New research identifies best gene to confer durable resistance to late blight in potato

An international team of researchers has struck an important blow in the ongoing evolutionary arms race with the notorious potato disease late blight (Phytophthora infestans). This disease, which caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, continues to reduce potato yields today and can lead to devastating losses. A new gene and it’s relatives were found in the Solanum americanum plant and seem to provide potatoes resistance against all races of P. infestans . A publication on the new Rpi-amr1-gene appears today in the journal Nature Plants.

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Nitrogen rates: New protocol to improve accuracy of nitrogen applications in potato crops

AHDB in the UK recently announced in a news article that a new protocol for estimating the determinacy of potato varieties will be released in the next few months. The protocol will help breeders and those involved in variety development, save time and money when producing nitrogen recommendations for new varieties. Growers and agronomists will gain more accurate nitrogen/determinacy groupings for both new and existing cultivars, and therefore improve the N rates applied to their crop.

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Varietal resistance to late blight: Most popular varieties in the UK assessed

Varietal resistance to late blight, including the newer strains which have become prevalent, can still make a real difference to control, David Wilson, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager Potatoes in the UK told the online audience at the December 2020 Agronomy Week event. Performance of some of the most popular varieties were assessed with demonstration trials held by the AHDB at Eurofins in 2019.

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Teagasc and IPM develop PCN-resistant potato variety

Teagasc and IPM Potato Group have recently released a new potato variety which is resistant to potato cyst nematode (PCN). As Stephen Robb reports in the Irish Farmers Journal, the variety is called “Buster” – a new ware or prepack variety that is said to be resistant to both species of PCN that impact potatoes. According to Dan Milbourne, who spoke at this week’s National Tillage Conference, Buster combines PCN-resistant genes from five parents.

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New decision-making tool to calculate tuber numbers, predict yield

Growers should soon be able to assess the variation in potato plant populations at field scale at any given time. This is thanks to work done by Harper Adams University, AHDB funded PhD student Joseph Mhango. His new decision-making tool uses artificial intelligence known as Deep Learning alongside drone-taken images of the crops to calculate stem numbers, and map where they occur. This technique is able to detect objects, and is used for machine vision in self-driving cars.

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AHDB: ‘Bridging the gap between growers and scientists’

Industry body AHDB in the UK says in a news article that it work to connect growers with researchers and scientists with initiatives like its Strategic Spot Farms to ensure the research it funds has the biggest impact and benefit for the potato industry. AHDB spoke to scientists at leading UK potato R&D organisations about the importance of their research of connecting with growers and the potato industry through the AHDB

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Where is the IPM potential for virus-vectoring aphid pests?

Addressing the increasing virus problem faced by seed potato growers may call for a re-think on how drills are planned and the implementation of effective IPM strategies to help combat the risk of virus-vectoring aphids developing insecticide resistance. Innovative research, led by Eric Anderson of Scottish Agronomy, has shown sowing spring barley around headlands and wildflowers along tramlines of seed potato fields can help to reduce virus incidence.

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The AsiaBlight Network looks to the future

As in many potato-growing parts of the world, late blight disease stifles production and earnings. In China, the story is no different as smallholder potato farmers lose millions of tons of potato and hundreds of millions of dollars annually in potential income due to this pathogen

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