Clues Found to Block Late Blight’s Blitz on Potatoes, Tomatoes

Late blight is the bane of potato and tomato growers around the globe. To the tune of being a $6 billion a year problem, this notorious disease has devastated many a crop far and wide. However, new findings by UF/IFAS researchers, published in the journal Molecular Ecology, could help prevent more genetic strains of the deadly pathogen from entering the U.S.

Late blight shown in a tomato
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS

Erica Goss, a UF/IFAS Assistant Professor of plant pathology, who published a study in 2014 showing Toluca, Mexico, as the origin of the late-blight pathogen, has now discovered the pathogen in other parts of Mexico. Goss and her team also found that each strain varies genetically.

Goss and her research team analyzed the genes of potato late-blight pathogens and found the pathogen in western Mexico (Michoacan) differs genetically from the one in central (Toluca) and eastern Mexico (Tlaxcala and Puebla).

“This genetic difference allowed us to track the potential source of strains that show up in the U.S., just like genetic analysis of an American person of European ancestry would tell you if their family was more likely to have originated from western Europe or eastern Europe,” Goss said. “What our study shows is that there is more potential trouble that could make its way here, replacing the existing genetic types of the pathogen in the U.S., and affecting disease control.”

According to Goss, to increase U.S. food security, scientists should study the genetic variation in Mexico and try to track how the strains are coming to America so they can prevent future introductions.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Disease Control Stories
Berries
June 10, 2017
Orange Rust Management Tips for Brambles
Disease is on the rise this season and can affect any propagated plant material. Read More
Crop Protection
June 7, 2017
Field Scouting Guide for Squash Powdery Mildew
Learn how to spot and treat a pest that impacts all cucurbits. Read More
Bee Vectoring Technologies experimental hives
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interesting Field Trips
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
UF/IFAS scientist Jonathan Crane inspects avocado trees in South Florida
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Florida Avocado Growers
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
Alternaria Leaf Spot of Cucurbits
Cucurbits
April 19, 2017
Alternaria Leaf Spot Awareness Can Save Your Cucurbit Crops
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 18, 2017
Researchers Say it is Time to Scout for Apple Diseases
With bloom underway, the risk for fire blight and scab are high. Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Natural Enemies for Asian Citrus Psyllid
The eventual spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, to commercial groves in California seems inevitable. But the devastation seen Read More
Biocontrols Conference
April 3, 2017
Silicon: Plant Nutrient and Biocontrol Agent
Editor’s note: Wendy Zellner made an in-depth presentation on silicon and its use as a biocontrol agent in vegetable crops Read More
Alternaria leaf and pod spot of snap bean
Disease Control
March 17, 2017
Prevent Alternaria from Putting Your Snap Beans on the Spot
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
Crop Protection
March 11, 2017
How to Stop Plant Diseases Before They Grab Hold
These smart strategies play off the science behind infestations, instead of merely treating symptoms. Read More
Crop Protection
March 9, 2017
Grafting Offers a Surprising Boost to Plants
A Washington State University project aims to improve yields and increase tolerance to Verticillium wilt with grafted plants. Read More
Southern Blight by Schwartz FEATURE
Crop Protection
March 9, 2017
Top Vegetable Diseases to Watch in 2017
We sent out a call to vegetable pathology Extension agents to let us know which diseases are top of mind for growers. Here’s what we learned. Read More
UF/IFAS researcher Cristina Pisani examines ailing avocado tree
Crop Protection
February 27, 2017
New Discovery Smells Like Victory for Florida Avocado Growers
Scientists find naturally occurring repellent that could keep disease-carrying beetles at bay. Read More
sclerotinia
Disease Control
February 23, 2017
Spot Sclerotinia Before It Stops Your Vegetable Crop
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady that goes by many names. Read More
Crop Protection
January 31, 2017
Defend Your Cole Crops from Three Critical Diseases
Learn symptoms, causal agents, and control measures for black rot, Alternaria leaf spot, and downy mildew. Read More
The Latest
Disease Control
July 24, 2017
Researchers Find Detection Method for Cr…
Oregon State University researchers developed molecular tools to work with commercially available kits that allow the user to quickly and effectively test plants for the disease, using a dipstick that reveals the presence of the pathogen within minutes. Read More
Cucurbits
June 20, 2017
Take Caution to Curb Cucurbit Leaf Crump…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Make Way for Life-Saving Science on Your…
While nature always finds a way to adapt, science continues to find other ways to cope. Read More
Berries
June 10, 2017
Orange Rust Management Tips for Brambles
Disease is on the rise this season and can affect any propagated plant material. Read More
Crop Protection
June 7, 2017
Field Scouting Guide for Squash Powdery …
Learn how to spot and treat a pest that impacts all cucurbits. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interest…
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Flori…
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
Cucurbits
April 19, 2017
Alternaria Leaf Spot Awareness Can Save …
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 18, 2017
Researchers Say it is Time to Scout for …
With bloom underway, the risk for fire blight and scab are high. Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Natural Enemies for Asian Citrus Psyllid
The eventual spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, to commercial groves in California seems inevitable. But the devastation seen Read More
Biocontrols Conference
April 3, 2017
Silicon: Plant Nutrient and Biocontrol A…
Editor’s note: Wendy Zellner made an in-depth presentation on silicon and its use as a biocontrol agent in vegetable crops Read More
Disease Control
March 17, 2017
Prevent Alternaria from Putting Your Sna…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable disease. Read More
Crop Protection
March 11, 2017
How to Stop Plant Diseases Before They G…
These smart strategies play off the science behind infestations, instead of merely treating symptoms. Read More
Crop Protection
March 9, 2017
Grafting Offers a Surprising Boost to P…
A Washington State University project aims to improve yields and increase tolerance to Verticillium wilt with grafted plants. Read More
Crop Protection
March 9, 2017
Top Vegetable Diseases to Watch in 2017
We sent out a call to vegetable pathology Extension agents to let us know which diseases are top of mind for growers. Here’s what we learned. Read More
Crop Protection
February 27, 2017
New Discovery Smells Like Victory for Fl…
Scientists find naturally occurring repellent that could keep disease-carrying beetles at bay. Read More
Disease Control
February 23, 2017
Spot Sclerotinia Before It Stops Your Ve…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady that goes by many names. Read More
Crop Protection
January 31, 2017
Defend Your Cole Crops from Three Critic…
Learn symptoms, causal agents, and control measures for black rot, Alternaria leaf spot, and downy mildew. Read More