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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #339408

Title: Testing for Blackleg and Dickeya in the 2017 field season

item Swingle, Bryan
item PERRY, KEITH - Cornell University

Submitted to: Empire State Potato Growers (Newsletter)
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/17/2017
Publication Date: 3/27/2017
Citation: Swingle, B.M., Perry, K. 2017. Testing for Blackleg and Dickeya in the 2017 field season. Empire State Potato Growers (Newsletter). Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: This article is aimed at raising awareness of the recently emerged potato blackleg disease and the research being conducted at USDA-ARS Ithaca and Cornell University to address this problem. This article explains the current management strategies for this disease and explains our research team’s research goals. The intended audience of this article are commercial potato growers operating in New York State. The Problem: A destructive form of blackleg disease was reported across the United States in 2015 and 2016, with Long Island and other production areas in the Northeast particularly hard hit. Previously, blackleg was caused by Pectobacterium spp. but a new and virulent Dickeya sp. has emerged and caused widespread problems. This new disease is associated with seed piece decay, uneven and non-emergence, tuber soft rot, yellowing and wilting of plants, and a conspicuous basal stem rot moving upward from affected tubers. Research goals: Our leading priority is to understand the prevalence of each of the pathogens Dickeya and Pectobacterium, and to determine the level of variability among strains. Are we dealing with one new pathogen or several? Are our diagnostic assays adequate for detecting all isolates? Request for grower cooperation: We are asking growers to notify our research team if they suspect blackleg or Dickeya in their potato farms. We are asking for samples of infected plants to be sent to our laboratories for diagnosis and analysis.