Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Weed Implicated In Potato Blight Persistence

Date:
January 8, 2007
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Late blight, the devastating tuber disease that triggered the Irish potato famine of the mid-1800s, has a new partner in crime. Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Orono, Maine, discovered that Phytophthora infestans--the microorganism behind the spud-spoiling disease--is seeking refuge in potato fields, holed up in an alternate host plant: hairy nightshade.

Potatoes infected with late blight are shrunken on the outside, corky and rotted inside.
Credit: Photo by Scott Bauer

Late blight, the devastating tuber disease that triggered the Irish potato famine of the mid-1800s, has a new partner in crime.

Related Articles


Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Orono, Maine, discovered that Phytophthora infestans--the microorganism behind the spud-spoiling disease--is seeking refuge in potato fields, holed up in an alternate host plant: hairy nightshade.

Best known for causing widespread hunger, illness and death in 1840s Ireland, P. infestans continues to pose a formidable threat to global potato and tomato production. According to the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru, the disease costs the world's growers more than $3 billion each year in fungicides and other control measures.

Modesto Olanya, a plant pathologist at the ARS New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Orono, learned of the possibility of an alternate host in 2004 from colleagues at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Presque Isle.

As extension agents in the northern part of the state discovered, hairy nightshade plants were showing up speckled with suspicious dark and oily spots. Olanya analyzed the microorganisms on the plants and verified, for the first time, that hairy nightshade is an alternate host of P. infestans in Maine.

To make matters worse, hairy nightshade is hardly a wallflower, in terms of its presence in commercial potato fields in Maine. In a limited survey, Olanya and University of Maine collaborators found that 55 percent of fields assessed in the state contained the plant.

According to Olanya, the finding that hairy nightshade is an active host of P. infestans is problematic in two ways. First, the plant is a secondary source of the destructive disease. And, it's a weed.

As a result of this ARS research, growers are now learning the importance of controlling hairy nightshade as part of their overall late blight management program.

ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Weed Implicated In Potato Blight Persistence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102132649.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2007, January 8). Weed Implicated In Potato Blight Persistence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102132649.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Weed Implicated In Potato Blight Persistence." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102132649.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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