Biobased approaches examined in fight against zebra chip

Feb 13, 2012 By Jan Suszkiw
Biobased approaches examined in fight against zebra chip
ARS entomologist Joseph Munyaneza, has helped discover the duo-potato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli and bacterium Liberibacter solanacearum—that cause zebra chip, a major disease problem of potatoes in the western United States. Credit: Joseph Munyaneza.

Thanks to investigations by scientists-turned-detectives with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other agencies, potato growers in the western United States and abroad now know the identities of the pathogen-insect duo responsible for outbreaks of the costly tuber disease known as "zebra chip."

In the near term, the discovery is helping growers in affected regions improve their timing and use of insecticide sprays to prevent the potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli, from feeding on and infecting potato crops with the Zebra chip , Liberibacter solanacearum. Over the longer term, researchers aim to recommend alternative controls for use in integrated approaches to managing the disease, according to Joseph Munyaneza, an entomologist at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory in Wapato, Wash.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

Besides savings on insecticide use, other benefits of an integrated approach include preservation of , prevention of secondary pests, and decreased risk of developing in psyllid populations.

Since 2005, Munyaneza has participated on a multi-disciplinary team of scientists from government, academia and industry conducting research to minimize the incidence of Zebra chip, so-named for the dark stripes it forms inside afflicted tubers. Their investigations include trials of:

• kaolin particle film, a reflective clay-based powder that can be mixed with water to form a protective barrier on plants. In tests, it disrupted psyllid feeding and egg-laying,

• biorational insecticides, including a mineral oil formulation that deterred 94 percent of psyllids,.

• Metarhizium anisopliae, a beneficial fungus that reduced psyllid eggs and nymphs by 45 to 67 percent,

• potato germplasm that showed resistance to psyllids in the form of reduced feeding by the pest, and

• monitoring of psyllid migration patterns to help predict the development of Zebra chip in —including via populations of the pest originating in Texas, where the disease was first reported in fields near McAllen and Pearsall in 2000.

Explore further: Scientist discovers populations of rare songbird in surprising new habitat

More information: Read more about this research in the February 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Provided by USDA Agricultural Research Service

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bacterium Identified as Potato Disease Culprit

Oct 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Studies tying a new species of Candidatus Liberibacter bacteria to zebra chip (ZC) disease in potato should speed efforts to better protect the tuber crop from costly outbreaks.

Recommended for you

Nestling birds struggle in noisy environments

Oct 29, 2014

Unable to fly, nestling birds depend on their parents for both food and protection: vocal communication between parents and offspring helps young birds to determine when they should beg for food and when they should crouch ...

The secret life of the sea trout

Oct 29, 2014

Jan G. Davidsen and his graduate students are spies. They use listening stations and special tags they attach to their subjects to track their movements. They follow their subjects winter and summer, day ...

Giant tortoises gain a foothold on a Galapagos Island

Oct 28, 2014

A population of endangered giant tortoises, which once dwindled to just over a dozen, has recovered on the Galapagos island of Española, a finding described as "a true story of success and hope in conservation" ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.