Spongospora subterranea is responsible for significant potato root and tuber disease globally.
The study of this obligate (non-culturable) pathogen that infects below-ground plant parts is technically difficult. The capacity to measure the dynamics and patterns of root infections can greatly assist in determining the efficacy of control treatments on disease progression.
In this research, TIA's Dr Tamil Thangavel and colleagues used qPCR to detect Spongospora sp. pathogen levels early in the potato growth cycle.
This enabled prediction of the likelihood of root infection and powdery scab tuber infection later in the growing season.
Effective chemical treatments were identified for controlling early interaction of pathogen with host, by modelling qPCR long before visual disease was observed.
It was revealed that potato roots at all developmental ages were susceptible to infection but that delaying infection significantly reduced pathogen content, root disease and tuber disease at final harvest.
Technology developed in this project will aid in quickly evaluating the efficacy of new control treatments and combating this economically significant disease impacting on the potato industry.
Citation: Thangavel T, Tegg RS, Wilson CR, 'Monitoring Spongospora subterranea development in potato roots reveals distinct infection patterns and enables efficient assessment of disease control methods', PLoS One, 10, (9) Article e0137647. ISSN 1932-6203 (2015)
The full article can be viewed online.
Published on: 24 Feb 2016 2:38pm