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Map reveals evolution of potato disease in Europe in 2018

An international consortium, including the James Hutton Institute which tracks the European spatial distribution of Phytophthora infestans, the plant pathogen responsible for potato late blight, has updated the distribution of the pathogen by adding new data that visualises the distribution and diversity of dominant clones in the 2018 crop.

Plant pathologists from the EuroBlight consortium - which includes Aarhus University, Wageningen University and INRA - working with industry and research partners, have presented their latest report on its pathogen monitoring in potato crops. The report, which is available on the research group website, collates information from over 900 samples collected and genotyped in 2018.

As in previous years, ‘FTA cards’ were distributed to disease ‘scouts’ from across the industry who visited blight-infected crops. Disease lesions were pressed on the cards and returned to the laboratories where the pathogen DNA was fingerprinted at the James Hutton Institute and INRA, Rennes. The DNA fingerprint data was used to define the clonal lineages of the pathogen and combined with geo-location data to plot the diversity across Europe.

James Hutton Institute researcher Dr David Cooke, co-leader of the EuroBlight study, said: “In a very dry and generally low blight pressure summer sample numbers were lower than normal but still manage to span 22 countries. Around 80% of the samples belonged to defined clonal lineages observed in previous seasons.

Link to live map

For more information, visit the Euroblight website

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