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Ongoing project

Mechanisms and manipulation of resistance to powdery scab in potato roots (PT17003)

Key research provider: University of Tasmania

What’s it all about?

While the potato tuber blemishes that are caused by powdery scab are a concern for the potato industry, the pathogen’s effect on plant roots can’t be underestimated, either. Root infection with powdery scab disrupts root function – meaning more irrigation, fertiliser and fungicides are needed to compensate for poor root development – and leads to diminishing yields.

In this project, researchers are investigating root resistance to powdery scab infection. This involves looking at how the pathogen infects roots and causes disease, what allows for resistance in some potato varieties, and whether resistance mechanisms may be boosted or transferred.

While caused by the same pathogen, the powdery scab root and tuber infection processes are separate, and different plant resistance processes operate against each. This means that varieties that show resistance to tuber disease don’t necessarily show resistance to root infection. However, when root infection is decreased, disease across the whole plant is slowed, meaning tuber disease is reduced as well.


This is a multi-industry strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Potato - Fresh and Potato - Processing Funds