Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #441573

Research Project: Assessment of Beet Leafhopper and BLTVA Phytoplasma Impact on Potato Tuber Yield and Quality

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Project Number: 2092-21220-002-068-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2022
End Date: Mar 31, 2023

Determine the cost/benefit ratio for beet leafhopper and Beet Leafhopper-transmitted Virescence Agent (BLTVA) phytoplasma management in potato by assessing the effect of natural BLTVA infection at varying time points throughout the growing season on tuber yield and quality.

Field trials will be conducted similarly at two research farms located approximately 27 miles apart at the ARS locations in Prosser (Swisher Grimm) and Wapato (Angelella and Cooper), Washington, during the summer of 2022. Briefly, Umatilla russet potato seed will be planted in late spring in 48, 2 m long plots consisting of eight seed pieces placed approximately 20 cm apart, and insect-proof cages will be placed over the hills with edges buried in the soil to protect emerged plants from insect and pathogen damage (Buchman et al. 2011). Plants will be watered using drip line irrigation. Radish and mustard will be planted beside the potato plots to encourage Beet Leafhopper-transmitted Virescence Agent (BLTVA)-infected beet leafhopper presence at each field site. Beginning at three weeks post-planting and continuing every two weeks for the duration of the growing season, natural populations of the beet leafhopper will be collected from the radish and mustard grown at each field site using a DVAC sampling method, beet leafhoppers will be isolated in the laboratory and released on potato in six cages per collection time (determined at random) to allow feeding and BLTVA transmission (Angelella and Cooper). Six cages will not be exposed to beet leafhoppers to act as our control treatment. During the isolation/sorting process, BLTVA pathogen prevalence will be determined from a subset of specimens collected at each time point by molecular diagnostic methods routinely used in our laboratory to understand how pathogen incidence factors into overall results (Swisher Grimm). At harvest in the fall, potatoes will be collected by cage (treatment) and tuber yield and quality will be determined for the potatoes from each infestation treatment during late fall/winter of 2022 (Swisher Grimm, Angelella, Cooper).