Tuesday, August 21, 2018

AHDB issues new industry guidelines on late blight

May 31, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

New guidance on how the potato industry should respond to reduced fluazinam sensitivity in late Blight populations has been issued.

Funded by AHDB, researchers from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) worked alongside ADAS to produce the guidance on the management of blight given the prevalence of a strain of the potato blight pathogen, named genotype EU37.

First discovered in the Netherlands in 2013, EU37 has proven to be less sensitive to the common fungicide fluazinam than other established UK blight strains. Evidence available suggests EU37 has comparable aggressiveness to another dominant genotype known as 6A1.

AHDB notified its blight network about reports of the spread of EU37 in July last year. AHDB knowledge exchange manager Claire Hodge said: “The dominance of the EU37 genotype increased substantially between 2016 and 2017.

“In that time, the percentage of EU37 samples collected by blight scouts who volunteer as part of our ‘Fight Against Blight’ (FAB) programme rose from 3% to 24%. If the frequency of EU37 continues to increase, the efficacy of Fluazinam is likely to be affected further.”

Modes of action

There are currently blight fungicide active ingredients with 13 different modes of action available in the UK, therefore resistance to fluazinam should not be a major issue for potato production, provided there is sufficient diversity in the fungicide use.

As a part of AHDB’s continued research in to blight populations, the FAB programme has been supplying a sampling service which notifies the industry of outbreaks and risk throughout the country since 2006.

Samples from confirmed reports are sent to the James Hutton Institute for DNA fingerprinting to check the genotype. Results are then presented anonymously via the newly improved FAB website – blight.ahdb.org.uk – and fed in to the EuroBlight network for Europe.

Some 275 volunteers captured 158 confirmed samples through the service during the 2017. The website has been fine-tuned to keep up with the disease and its evolving strains more accurately – and make it easier to report and recognise outbreaks earlier.

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