Latin American network for potato late blight is created

The network was created during the 26th Biennial Congress of the Latin American Potato Association (acronym in Spanish: ALAP), held in Bogota from September 28 to October 2, 2014, as a corollary to the Symposium: Latin American Late Blight (listen to the audios of some of the presentations here).

The network will officially start its activities once its website has been launched.

Serious disease

Potato late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary, is one of the most devastating potato diseases worldwide.

In 1845, it caused the total destruction of the potato fields in Ireland, which were the main source of food for the country, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people and the emigration of many survivors to other European countries and to America.

From that time onwards, numerous studies have been made on the etiology, epidemiology, and control of the disease, and even more have been made since the discovery of the A2 type in Europe in 1984, and the development of biochemical and molecular techniques that made it possible to improve the studies of the genetics of pathogen populations.

A felt need

The creation of the late blight network was a clamor of the researchers working in the region. Europe already has Euroblight, the United States has USAblight, and Asia will soon be working with Asiablight.

To facilitate the work, the Latin Blight network has divided the region into three zones: Andean America, Non-Andean America and Central America, and North America.

It also set the priorities for the topics to be addressed:

  • genotyping of isolates
  • support systems for decisions
  • resistant varieties, and
  • fungicide evaluation

The Latin Blight network will hold a seminar every two years to coincide with the ALAP biennial congress. The next venue will therefore be in Panama City.

Previously published in Spanish in redepapa.org

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