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Monitoring potato seed lots to control blackleg in fields in Switzerland and southern Germany

de Werra, Patrice; Kopp, Christoph; Häberli, Martin; Stöcker, Ingo; Keil, Andrea; Debonneville, Christophe; Oberhänsli, Thomas; Altenbach, Denise and Keiser, Andreas (2020) Monitoring potato seed lots to control blackleg in fields in Switzerland and southern Germany. Plant Pathology, 69 (7), pp. 1331-1346.

[thumbnail of deWerra-etal-2020-PlantPathology-Vol69-Issue7-p1331-1346.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: https://bsppjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ppa.13226


Potato blackleg is a seedborne disease that can cause significant economic losses for growers. Disease development depends mainly on two drivers, namely seed inoculum and local climatic conditions. To better establish the relationship between these two drivers, blackleg development was monitored in Swiss field trials at multiple locations from 2010 to 2013 involving three sets of naturally infected seed lots planted in each of three locations. The seed lot itself was thereby the most important factor explaining differences in disease development, rather than environmental factors. In a further on‐farm project conducted at various locations in Switzerland and southern Germany from 2013 to 2015, the implementation of a seed‐testing procedure was investigated. A total of 177 seed lots were tested for natural latent infection with soft rot Pectobacteriaceae and the corresponding blackleg incidence was tracked in 242 fields. The reliability of the relationship between latent infection and field incidence was found to be strongly linked to the bacterial species. Dickeya spp. field infection could be predicted with an acceptable reliability, whereas Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense, even when detected as latent tuber infection, was not consistently expressed as visual blackleg. Moreover, commonly found mixed latent infections with several bacterial species made it even harder to predict which bacteria would cause blackleg symptoms. Finally, variability in the reliability of seed testing may also be explained by differences in local farming practices. These trials over several years with naturally infected potato seed highlight the usefulness and limits of seed testing to manage blackleg.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:blackleg, environmental conditions, latent infection, potato, seed‐tuber testing, soft rot, FiBL20902, Abacus, Internes Projekt
Agrovoc keywords:
plant protection
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Root crops
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Crop protection
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Arable crops > Root crop
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:38918
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 13:55
Last Modified:21 Jan 2021 07:56
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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