Can Physiology Help Us to Combat Late Blight in Potato?

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Abstract

Late blight is a devastating disease in potato production world-wide. Breeding for resistance is complex because of the versatile and aggressive population of Phytophthora infestans, which overcomes any new genetic source of resistance very rapidly. There are reliable fungicides available to control the disease, but chemical control is costly and harmful to the environment. There are no cultural practices reducing the infestation, which are reliable enough to cope with the disease in a non-chemical way. Given the close link between the physiological condition of the crop and its resistance to late blight, this paper addresses the question whether crop physiology can help to combat the disease. Although there are possibilities to (partly) escape to the late blight by advancing the crop cycle or the tuber bulking, it is concluded that crop physiology can do little to reliably reduce the susceptibility to late blight. Breeding for resistance remains the best option.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-287
JournalPotato Research
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • foliage maturity type
  • septoria-tritici blotch
  • phytophthora-infestans
  • solanum-tuberosum
  • leaf position
  • heading date
  • plant height
  • resistance
  • cultivars
  • age

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