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Blight is one of the most devastating diseases of potatoes worldwide and can result in complete destruction of crops and loss of income. It was responsible for the Irish potato famine of the 1840’s that led to the deaths of one million people.

Caused by the fungus-like organism, or oomycete, potato late blight (Phytophthora infestans) spreads rapidly in warm, wet or very humid weather, destroying potato plants quickly if undetected. Infected tubers can decay to a foul smelling mush, caused by secondary bacterial rots.

What does blight look like?

Brown patches at the tips and margins of leaflets. In high humidity and temperatures of 10°C or above, the patches enlarge and the leaflets curl and wither. In moist weather, the fungus is often visible as a delicate white growth on the underside of the leaf, at the margins of the brown patches. Brown patches may also develop on stems, and the entire plant may be killed in a matter of days if the weather is favourable. Blighted tubers have a reddish-brown rot under a discoloured skin.

In-field detection of blight in minutes

clickable image showing a plant disease rapid testWhether you are a grower, advisor or inspector, protecting investment is a high priority. Margins in the agriculture, agri-food and horticulture sectors are being squeezed ever tighter. So, confirmatory diagnosis of a commercially damaging disease in-the-field or the glasshouse can save time, but more importantly money. Once an early detection of a particular disease has been confirmed, a rapid informed decision about crop/plant protection can take place. Without knowing what is affecting your crop/plants how do know you are taking the right course of action?

Growers, inspectors, research institutes and universities use rapid tests regularly. The tests can be used as a preliminary diagnosis before further investigations.

Order Phytophthora (Late Blight) Pocket Diagnostic® test kits online.

Feature image source: Björn Andersson (SLU) CC 4.0
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