EEUU: Researchers Discover New Bacterial Pathogen Strains In Pennsylvania’s Potato Crops
Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University have identified new strains of bacterial pathogens. According to the research, these bacterial pathogens have posed a grave danger to the state’s potato crops.
These pathogens can cause devastating diseases like blackleg and soft rot, leading to potential crop losses. Potatoes are crucial to the snack industry of Pennsylvania,USA. Pennsylvania is known for its leading snack companies like Martin’s Potato Chips, Utz, and Snyder’s of Hanover. The state highly prioritises its potato production. The researchers were prompted to go for this research after observing the symptoms of blackleg and soft rot in the potato fields across Pennsylvania. These symptoms include wilting, stunting, black lesions, and rotting tubers. The team collected samples from the 26 potato fields that showed these distressing signs.
The team isolated, cultured, and identified 456 bacteria samples. These samples included six species of Pectobacterium and one strain of Dickeya, which were previously unreported in Pennsylvania. Shockingly, one of the Pectobacterium species had never been seen in the US before.
Study co-author Professor Carolee Bull interacted with the press regarding this research. Carolee said that the findings could inform methods for detecting and quantifying the potato pathogens. According to Carolee, these pathogens could cause blackleg and soft rot in Pennsylvania and beyond. “In addition to surveillance, these insights could also help us better understand disease epidemiology,” said Professor Bull. “For example, the pathogens may have different optimum temperatures for growing or for producing these symptoms in the potatoes. So, the severity of the disease may change depending on different climate conditions.”
The research has been done amidst the significant crop losses in other northeastern states like Maine and New York. According to the reports, similar pathogens were said to be the reason for the crop losses in these states. These losses have rekindled interest in monitoring not only known pathogens, but also those not yet reported in the US such as Dickeya Solani.
Dickeya Solani pathogen is known for causing severe disease outbreaks in Europe. This is a relatively new pathogen, only being scientifically described in 2014.