Submitted to: Common Tater
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Late blight disease, caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans, is a serious problem world-wide. This disease was the major cause of the Irish potato famine and no standard US cultivar has adequate resistance to the fungus even today. This paper reports on new facilities for testing plants for resistance to the disease. These facilities, built on the back of the UW- Biotron, a facility for testing environmental conditions with plant and animals on the University of Wisconsin campus. The facilities are being used to look for promising resistant lines for incorporating into breeding studies aimed at obtaining new resistant variety of potato for commercial use. Finding a useful source of resistance, which could save US potato farmers $200 million or more each year, can now be used to produce improved, resistant varieties for US production.
Technical Abstract: New research greenhouses have been constructed on the back of the Biotron building on the University of Wisconsin campus. These sealed greenhouses are being used for testing new seedling lines for resistance to late blight. Control of temperature and humidity, essential for getting a good late blight infestation, will provide a year-round facility for testing potentially new resistant materials. This should facilitate the development of new potato cultivars that retain good economic traits but now can resist both late and early blights.