Development of comprehensive strategies to manage PVY in potato and eradicate the tuber necrotic variants recently introduced into the USA
Funded primarily by the USDA NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) with additional funding from the Idaho Potato Commission and support from seed certification agencies in WI, MT, ID, MN, ME, NY, CO, and OR.
Potato virus Y(PVY) has re-emerged as a serious disease in seed potato production areas in the USA.
In the past, PVY was effectively managed by potato seed inspection programs. Today, popular potato varieties support PVY infection without showing symptoms. And PVY 'strains' or types have emerged that cause tuber disease. Many of these new strains cause mild symptoms above-ground, yet they are more damaging to tubers below-ground.
Current practices in potato seed certification depend on visual assessment of virus symptoms in the growing crop. These methods cannot effectively manage the new strains of PVY in those popular varieties that have mild above-ground symptoms. Therefore, the tuber necrotic PVY strains may continue to grow in prevalence.
Inaccurate field inspections and improper diagnosis can also contribute to unnecessary trade restrictions. Necrotic strains of PVY pose a significant threat to the potato industry. These necrotic PVY strains are regulated and, therefore, will continue to impact interstate and international seed trade.
An evolving national management plan, sanctioned by the industry, provides guidelines to reduce overall PVY incidence and limit the introduction of necrotic strains. Several project scientists have served as advisors for the US-Canada Management Plan for Viruses that Cause Tuber Necrosis in Potato Tubers, signed into effect in April 2006.
The plan will facilitate the trade of potatoes within and between the US and Canada while protecting the industry from emerging viruses, including PVY, that cause yield and quality losses in the potato crop. The plan is reviewed and refined by the industry on an annual basis and our research will contribute to improvements in the management strategies for PVY.
To ensure our research continues to address relevant issues, we meet annually with growers, industry representatives, seed certification officials, and federal regulatory officials. There we share research findings and potential recommendations to modify the current Management Plan and receive input from the industry on their research needs.
A cost-benefit analysis will be conducted for each of the scientific recommendations to assist the industry and regulatory agencies in deciding acceptance of any proposed changes to the national plans. Cost-benefit analyses also can assist state certification and regulatory agencies and individual growers in determining whether to adopt individual practices.