Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Late Blight Battle Goes Online, Marking 150 Year Struggle Since Irish Potato Famine

Date:
March 17, 1998
Source:
American Phytopathological Society
Summary:
It started with the Irish Potato Famine, and now after 150 years, plant pathologists remain persistent in their struggle to find solutions to the newest strains of the aggressive late blight fungus (Phytophthora infestans). The latest battle against this devastating fungus, however, isn't taking place in a lab or out in a potato field, instead the American Phytopathological Society (APS) is taking the late blight battle online offering a clearinghouse of the most comprehensive information.

"Plant pathologists are on the front line of this issue, warning growers and consultants of the heightened risks posed by the new strains and investigating improved management activities," says Bill Fry, plant pathologist at Cornell University and past president of APS. "Massive educational and international research efforts are essential."

Fortunately, potato isn't the sole food crop for consumers in the U.S. and Europe as it was in Ireland 150 years ago, when unsuspecting farmers planted their crops and the perfect weather conditions for the potato disease fungus arrived. What soon would become know historically as the Irish Potato Famine, was the result of the first major late blight outbreak which turned the vigorous green crops into seas of blighted, decaying vegetation in just a few weeks.

"Throughout Europe the potato crops failed," says Gail Schumann, plant pathologist at the University of Massachusetts and member of APS. According to her book, Plant Diseases: Their Biology and Social Impact, "The disaster was worst in Ireland because of the nearly complete dependence of Irish peasants on the potato for their food. The struggle to find a cure for this disaster actually led to the birth of plant pathology as a science."

Plant pathologists have made significant headway in the past 150 years, but the disease in its varied strains still persists. "The impact of these new strains has a devastating effect on the growers," says Fry. "Reduced yields, increased potato blight during storage and shipping, and heightened fear of the new aggressive strains of late blight are just some of the issues they have to deal with. Even trying to keep the fungus under control causes significant economic hardship because of dramatically increased fungicide costs. We hope that through the continued research of plant pathologists worldwide, we'll find a strategy to effectively control late blight."

The late blight feature website will only be available for a limited time. Log in to www.scisoc.org and help fight the battle. The American Phytopathological Society is a professional scientific organization dedicated to the study and control of plant disease with more than 5,000 members worldwide.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Phytopathological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Phytopathological Society. "Late Blight Battle Goes Online, Marking 150 Year Struggle Since Irish Potato Famine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980317070559.htm>.
American Phytopathological Society. (1998, March 17). Late Blight Battle Goes Online, Marking 150 Year Struggle Since Irish Potato Famine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980317070559.htm
American Phytopathological Society. "Late Blight Battle Goes Online, Marking 150 Year Struggle Since Irish Potato Famine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980317070559.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins