New guidance on how the potato industry should respond to reduced fluazinam sensitivity in late Blight populations has been revealed.
Funded by AHDB, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) worked alongside ADAS to produce the guidance on the management of blight given the prevalence of a strain of the potato blight pathogen, named genotype EU_37, which has proven to be less sensitive to the common fungicide fluazinam than other established GB strains.
In July last year, AHDB notified its blight network about reports of the spread of EU_37, a strain of blight first discovered in the Netherlands in 2013 which has shown reduced sensitivity to fluazinam, a common fungicide used to tackle blight and other diseases.
Claire Hodge, Knowledge Exchange Manager for AHDB, said: “The dominance of the EU_37 genotype increased substantially between 2016 and 2017. In that time, the percentage of EU_37 samples collected by Blight Scouts who volunteer as part of our “Fight Against Blight” (FAB) programme rose from three per cent to 24 per cent . If the frequency of EU_37 continues to increase, the efficacy of Fluazinam is likely to be affected further.”
Evidence available suggests that EU_37 has decreased sensitivity to fluazinam and has comparable aggressiveness to another dominant genotype in GB, 6_A1.
Currently there are blight fungicide active ingredients (a.i.s) with 13 different modes of action available in the UK, therefore resistance to fluazinam should not be a major issue for potato production, provided there is sufficient diversity in the use of the a.i.s.
The Fight Against Blight
As a part of AHDB’s continued research in to blight populations, the highly successful FAB campaign has been supplying a sampling service, which notifies the industry of outbreaks and risk throughout Great Britain since 2006.
Samples from confirmed reports head to the James Hutton Institute for DNA fingerprinting to check the genotype, results are then presented anonymously via the newly improved FAB website – blight.ahdb.org.uk.
UK samples are then fed in to EuroBlight – the late blight network for Europe.
In the 2017 season, 275 registered volunteers captured 158 confirmed samples through the service.
Claire said: “The success of the Fight Against Blight campaign has primarily arisen from the hard work of our volunteers. Ordinarily our Blight Scouts are people who are routinely walking in potato fields during the season, so it’s something they are regularly on the lookout for. In order to keep up with the disease and its evolving strains more accurately we have been required to fine tune the service. Therefore, this year we have seen an overhaul of our website, which will make it even easier to submit samples and recognise blight outbreaks at the earliest opportunity,”
To register as a volunteer Blight Scout please visit: blight.ahdb.org.uk
Once you have registered, you will receive alerts when the risk of blight increases in your area, as well as the opportunity submit samples and help the UK’s Fight Against Blight.