Detection of Phytophthora erythroseptica in Above-ground Potato Tissues, Progeny Tubers, Stolons and Crop Debris Using PCR Techniques

  • U. N. Nanayakkara
  • Mathuresh SinghEmail author
  • K. I. Al-Mughrabi
  • R. D. Peters


Pink rot of potatoes caused by Phytophthora erythroseptica is known to infect all underground potato (Solanum tuberosum) tissues such as roots, stolons, tubers and basal stems. Potato leaves and stems do not normally exhibit symptoms except when extensive infection of underground plant parts results in plant wilt, chlorosis and necrosis.

This is the first study to investigate the spread of P. erythroseptica in above-ground potato tissues using both traditional isolation and PCR methods originally developed to detect the pathogen in tubers. P. erythroseptica was detected in 66% of leaf and stem tissue samples originated from artificially-inoculated and naturally-infected tubers of ‘Yukon Gold’ and ‘Shepody’ by PCR methods. However, it was only recovered in pure cultures from 38% of stem and leaf tissue samples. The pathogen was also detected in leaf and stem tissues and aerial tubers of plantlets grown in potting mixtures infested with P. erythroseptica. Pure cultures of P. erythroseptica obtained from stem and leaf tissues, together with the 95% of the detection with the real-time PCR assay and 45% with the conventional PCR assay confirmed the viability of the pathogen in above-ground potato tissues. Furthermore, the pathogen was detected in progeny tubers and stolons produced by the infected potato plants. P. erythroseptica was also detected in a few samples of debris taken from naturally senesced above-ground potato tissue after harvest.


Solanum tuberosum Plantlets Methods 


Se conoce que la pudrición rosada de la papa causada por Phytophthora erythroseptica infecta todos los tejidos subterráneos de papa (Solanum tuberosum), tales como raíces, estolones, tubérculos y tallos de la base. Las hojas y tallos aéreos generalmente no exhiben síntomas excepto cuando hay una infección generalizada de las partes subterráneas de la planta, lo cual da como resultado marchitez, clorosis y necrosis.

Este primer estudio es para investigar la diseminación de P. erythroseptica en las partes aéreas del tejido de papa usando ambos métodos de aislamiento, el tradicional y el método por PCR originalmente desarrollado para detectar patógenos en tubérculos. P. erythroseptica fue detectado en 66% de las muestras de tejido de tallo y hojas artificialmente inoculadas y tubérculos naturalmente infectados de ´Yukon Gold´ y ´Shepody´ por métodos PCR. Sin embargo fue recuperado solamente en cultivos puros del 38% de las muestras de tejido de tallo y hojas. El patógeno fue detectado también en el tejido de tallos y tubérculos aéreos de las plántulas crecidas en mezcla de substrato de macetas infestadas con P. erythroseptica. Cultivos puros de P. erythroseptica obtenidos de tejidos de tallos y hojas junto con el 95% de detección con la prueba de PCR de tiempo real y 45% con la prueba convencional, confirmaron la viabilidad del patógeno en las partes aéreas del tejido de papa. Más aún el patógeno fue detectado en tubérculos de la progenie producidos de tubérculos y estolones de plantas infectadas. P. erythroseptica también fue detectada en unas pocas muestras de deshecho tomadas después de la cosecha del tejido aéreo de plantas naturalmente envejecidas.



The authors wish to thank Embracing Innovation in Agriculture and Agri-Food Program of the Agricultural Policy Framework Agreement for funding and Dr. M. P. Singh for technical help.


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Copyright information

© Potato Association of America 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. N. Nanayakkara
    • 1
  • Mathuresh Singh
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. I. Al-Mughrabi
    • 2
  • R. D. Peters
    • 3
  1. 1.Agricultural Certification Services Inc.FrederictonCanada
  2. 2.New Brunswick Department of Agriculture and AquacultureWicklowCanada
  3. 3.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaCharlottetownCanada

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