Submitted to: Trade Journal Publication
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 25, 2012
Publication Date: October 26, 2012
Citation: Munyaneza, J.E. 2012. What is the risk of zebra chip being spread through potato tubers?. Trade Journal Publication. http://theglobalherald.com/assessing-the-risks-of-spreading-zebra-chip-disease-dr-joseph-munyaneza/ Interpretive Summary: Zebra chip, a new and economically important disease of potato, is caused by the bacterium Liberibacter transmitted to potato by the potato psyllid. Zebra chip-infected tubers potentially being a source of the disease spread is a major concern. Researchers at USDA-ARS Wapato, WA demonstrated that the risk of spreading zebra chip through disease-infected tubers is extremely low and not significant because the number of zebra chip-infected tubers giving rise to infected plants is generally negligible and these plants are short-lived. This information will benefit the potato industry by promoting national and international trade of fresh and seed potatoes.
Technical Abstract: Zebra chip (ZC), a new and economically important disease of potato in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and New Zealand has caused millions of dollars in losses to the potato industry. ZC has been linked to the new bacterium “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum”, transmitted to potato by the potato/tomato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli. ZC-infected tubers potentially being a source of the disease spread is a major concern, especially for national and international trade of fresh and seed potatoes. Results of our recent research showed that potato seed quality of ZC-infected tubers is significantly diminished as the tubers generally do not sprout and if they do, produce hair sprouts and weak plants. However, the study concluded that the risk of spreading ZC through disease-infected tubers is extremely low and not significant because the number of ZC-infected tubers giving rise to infected plants is generally negligible and these plants are short-lived. Furthermore, potato psyllids must be present to spread the disease. Therefore, to prevent ZC spread to regions where the disease is absent, more emphasis should be on developing strategies and phytosanitary measures to effectively exclude the potato/tomato psyllid instead of focusing on preventing export of fresh and seed potatoes.