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Content archived on 2024-05-07

Community method for the detection and diagnosis of potato brown rot - pseudomonas solanacearum


The major aim is to provide a harmonised scheme for the detection and diagnosis of Pseudomonas (Ratstonia) solanacearum, the potato brown rot pathogen which will be used to support the proposed EC Potato Brown Rot Control Directive.

Potato brown rot disease has recently become established in several Member States and poses a major risk to potato production in the EU, affecting the seed potato, ware potato, and potato processing industries.

The success of implementation of the Control Directive depends on having reliable diagnostic methods with adequate sensitivity and specificity. Because of its recent establishment in the EU, such tried and tested methods are not yet available.

Early work will develop and evaluate a series of methods with potential for detection of the pathogen in all the substrates covered in the Control Directive. These include potato, tomato and weeds (biotic substrates) and soil, irrigation and surface water, potato waste and sewage (abiotic substrates). Much of this early development will be on sample preparation rather than on the methods themselves, because we have methods which work quite well on pure cultures of the bacterium but not, for example, in potato tissue, soil or water.

The methods with the best potential for each substrate will be selected and further refined if necessary. These methods will then be evaluated for each substrate in over 30 laboratories throughout the EU. Parallel but smaller studies will evaluate methods for identifying and confirming cultures of the pathogen, also a process demanded by the Control Directive.
Another small study will develop and evaluate kits for rapid detection of the pathogen in symptomatic plant tissues, which will be of use during statutory inspections especially of imports from known infected third countries.
A final scheme will then be agreed to cover all detection and diagnostic requirements of the Directive.

A series of deliverables will include a video of practical details of the agreed scheme, sets of photographic slides of symptoms and test results, standard operating procedures for all methods in the final scheme and various reference materials for use with the scheme (antiserum, cultures, reagents).

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EU contribution
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Sand Hutton
United Kingdom

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