Location: Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research
2013 Annual Report
Little is known on zebra chip tuber transmission and the impact of this disease and its insect vector on potato seed quality. One major concern is that zebra chip-infected tubers may give rise to zebra chip-infected plants, thereby increasing the risk of disease spread to zebra chip-free areas. For a third year, field experiments at Texas AgriLife in Weslaco, Texas, assessed the effects of liberibacter-free and liberibacter-infected psyllids on plant emergence, viability, disease incidence, and yield of a dozen of commercial potato varieties under controlled cage conditions. It was confirmed that sprouting and development of plants from tubers of disease-free plants fed on by disease-free psylllids are not significantly affected by Liberibacter. It was confirmed that zebra chip-infected potato tubers generally do not sprout and if they do produce disease-free and short-lived potatoes, thereby significantly limiting disease spread. This information will greatly benefit the potato seed industry and promote national and international trade of fresh potatoes.