Feasibility study regarding epidemiology and control of helminthosporium solani (silver scurf) on potatoes.

This study focuses on the epidemiology of silver scurf and
the conditions which stimulate or reduce its growth and
spread on seed potatoes. Results will be used to develop an
innovative technology that could drastically reduce it.

One of the major problems facing the potato and seed-potato sectors in recent years, is the growing infection of potato tubers by Silver Scurf caused by the fungus Helminthosporium solani. This disease causes scurfy-silvery patches on the tuber skin, which results in an excess of evaporation of damaged tubers, thus reducing their production potential and value, and causing re-infection of tubers grown from infected seeds. Lately the disease is emerging as the main problem in the export of seed potatoes from Europe to ISRAEL and in ISRAEL. HZPC B.V., being the major exporter of seeds to ISRAEL, using its affiliate RZ RESEARCH B.V., and in collaboration with its Israeli partner HEVEL MA'ON ENTERPRISES, the largest Israeli potato grower and exporter, together with GILAT STATION (Israeli Agricultural Organisation), wish to join forces to study the epidemiology of this disease and the conditions which stimulate or reduce its growth or spread. The results of this feasibility study will then be used to develop an innovative technology that could drastically reduce the amount of Silver Scurf on see-potatoes in HOLLAND, resulting in both the production of disease-free potatoes in ISRAEL, while using minimal dosage of chemicals in both countries. Until now there has been no knowledge about what causes the extreme growth of Silver Scurf on potatoes which are transported from Europe to ISRAEL and back. It is clear that the disease is not visible at the time the export potatoes are being inspected and packed, but it is unknown to what extent the disease is already latently present at that moment. One important issue is that the currently used disinfection method (spraying fungicides at the end of the production process) is not sufficient to achieve the needed suppression or reduction of Silver Scurf. In order to develop a working technology, a study will be performed to assess the critical specifications for such a technology. The central issue of this study is to gain fundamental knowledge on how Silver Scurf develops on seed potatoes from harvesting seeds via export/transport to planting and inoculating of daughter tubers (epidemiology), as well as treatments and methods effective in controlling and reducing Silver Scurf. Scientific questions to be answered are: - how does Silver Scurf arise, - under what conditions (climate, storage, transport) does it expand? - how quickly does Silver Scurf spread under current conditions? - what are the failures of the currently used fungicide treatment? - what are effective fungicide treatments for Silver Scurf? The study can be broken down into five work packages: 1) Selection and pre-treatment: selection of a batch of seed potatoes (Desiree) with a medium level of Silver Scurf contamination; treating it with several fungicides, at different stages and using different application methods; 2) Laboratory research: clinical research on the same batch of Desiree; research on the evolution of Silver Scurf under laboratory conditions, to exclude external inoculation; 3) Field line research: monitoring during storage in The NETHERLANDS and after transport to ISRAEL; sowing the treatments in the field and in containers in ISRAEL; parallel testing of Silver Scurf infection levels during all stages - to be performed both in The NETHERLANDS (in storage) and in ISRAEL (in the field, in containers and in storage); 4) Review of research results. Based on the results and gained knowledge from the first two work packages, a closer look on technical parameters and conditions leading to a reduction and deduction of causes of the problem and possible solutions; followed by a second loop of WP1 and WP2, with a new batch of seed potatoes; 5) Project evaluation: resulting in guidelines and directions for the intended research and development of an innovative technology for the reduction and control of Silver Scurf on seed potatoes. Keywords: silver scurf, potatoes, fungicide.
Project ID: 
2 525
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
330 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.