Scotland tightens regulations to protect potato production against new strain of Dickeya

Scotland is introducing a "nil tolerance" on Dickeya to protect its potato production.

As revealed this week to growers by the NFU's Horticulture team, the Scottish government has amended its seed potato legislation to take action against a new bacterial pathogen in the genus Dickeya - a major threat to potato production in Europe.

Following a consultation, a "zero tolerance" policy is being incorporated into the Scottish Seed Potato Classification Scheme (SPCS) from 29 March (2010) and applies to all classes of potato seed entered under the scheme.

The pathogen is a close relative of Dickeya dianthicola (formerly Erwinia chrysanthemi) - which has caused problems from time to time across Europe since the 1970s.

It causes blackleg-like symptoms in the growing crop - and even mild symptoms in the plant can lead to severe rots in the tubers.

The new strain has still to be formally named but scientists in the Netherlands have suggested "Dickeya solani".


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