Submitted to: Potato Late Blight Research Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 11, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Late blight is a devastating disease which infects potato plants and tubers. The disease, caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans, can rapidly decimate entire potato fields. Currently, there are no varieties immune to the disease. Fungal spores from infected plants may leach into the soil and infect tubers through lenticels and buds. At harvest, infected tubers may be visibly diseased or the infection may be latent making sorting only partially effective. Uninfected tubers may unnoticeably become infected during harvest through skinning type wounds, cuts and bruises. These latent and wound infections by the late blight organism can subsequently express during storage. Late blight infected tubers succumb to secondary infections which cause rapid decay losses for entire bins of stored potatoes. Resistance to tuber skinning and other types of wounding is important in reducing infection of healthy tubers and subsequent storage losses. Early detection of disease in potato storages is helpful in controlling the advancement of infections via changes in storage management (increasing ventilation rates and decreasing humidification) and in marking marketing decisions. However, it is most important that we identify and describe the mode of action of exploitable natural/biological mechanisms of disease resistance (constitutive and elicited) in potato tubers and potato plants to solve this and related disease problems and to facilitate sustainable farming practices.