Identification of the major characteristics of potato cultivars which affect yield loss caused by late blight

M. van Oijen

    Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


    <p>Yield loss caused by late blight varies among potato cultivars. This thesis reports experiments and models aimed at identifying the plant characteristics that explain the variation. In the experiments, blight did not affect the efficiency with which twenty potato cultivars used intercepted light to produce biomass. The rate of photosynthesis of green parts was not impaired by lesions in other parts. Yield loss thus was fully explained by reduced light interception, i.e. reduced green leaf area. Blight decreased green leaf area mainly by lesion coverage of leaves, but also by accelerating leaf senescence. Simulation analysis showed that the acceleration of senescence accounted for less than 15% of the yield loss in every cultivar, and no genetic variation for this trait was found. The marked genotypic differences observed in foliage area thus were due to differences in lesion coverage, caused by different levels of partial resistance and by maturity class-related differences in foliage growth. It is concluded that breeding for components of partial resistance is more promising than breeding for tolerance, but should be done separately for early and late cultivars. The literature was reviewed and found conflicting about the relation between yield loss and components of resistance to the fungus. The limitations of published epidemiological models as instruments for identification of the most important components are discussed. An improved epidemiological model was constructed and used to identify infection efficiency and radial lesion growth rate as the main determinants of disease progress in potato. Resistance breeding should therefore focus on these components.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Rabbinge, R., Promotor, External person
    Award date13 Sep 1991
    Place of PublicationS.l.
    Print ISBNs9789090043982
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


    • plant pathogenic fungi
    • solanum tuberosum
    • potatoes
    • phytophthora


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