Washington Adds To No-No List

Published online: Nov 02, 2000
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The news that potato wart has been discovered on Prince Edward Island, Can., has caused great concern in the United States because of the revelation that wart had been in Newfoundland and Labrador for years. Also, that the Golden Nematode has been found in Newfoundland and on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island, BC.

Washington Potato Commission Executive Director Pat Boss shared the information with the U.S. potato industry Nov. 1 after locating a Canadian government web site. The United States does not have potato wart disease but does have one quarantined area of Golden Nematode in New York state.

Boss said the Canadian agriculture site listed the areas of infestation-which have been quarantined-and wart- and nematode-resistant potato varieties available to growers.

In addition, a description of potato wart from the Atlantic Cool-Climate Crop Research Centre, told growers that the fungus is spread along railway lines, road networks and coastal transport routes.

The report prepared by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, also explains that the disease is spread when the fungus is transported on contaminated soil, tubers from infested soil, implements, footwear, manure from animals fed on warted potatoes, hooves of animals, and possibly by wind passing over dried, infested soil.

The disease is being controlled by strict quarantine measures around the world. But control has been compounded by the fact the fungus has developed numerous strains, known as pathotypes. About 20 occur around the world, including four known in Newfoundland. Potatoes resistant to one pathotype may be susceptible to another.