Control and prediction of alternaria spp.

Towards an integrated control and prediction of Alternaria spp. in the Flemish potato cultivation

Alternaria species, including A. solani and A. alternata are a serious threat for potato cultivation and heavy infections can lead to significant yield losses. Both species cause necrotic symptoms, which cannot visually be distinguished. Last years, both pathogens became more and more important in NW Europe. This can be attributed to the combined effect of climate change, a reduced use of mancozeb in combination with specific fungicides against Phythopthora infestans and the increased production of high-yield susceptible cultivars. Successful control of the disease depends on accurate identification and a tailored approach. It can be accomplished through various means: use of resistant potato cultivars, appropriate farming techniques such as careful tillage, crop rotation, etc., as well as fungicide applications that may directly affect the growth of fungi. The main goal of this research is to unravel the complex interaction between abiotic and biotic factors influencing the pathogen complex in order to apply IPM to fight Alternaria in the Flemish potato cultivation.

To reach this goal, we can distinguish five steps.

  1. Data collection
  2. Assessment of the sensitivity of A. alternata and A. solani isolates to foliar fungicides
  3. Investigation of the role of nitrogen depletion on the disease severity
  4. Research on the impact of other abiotic stress factors, such as drought and temperature
  5. Build a model to predict outbreaks of Alternaria and incorporate it in a decision support system

Contact: Sofie Landschoot

Funding: IWT

Supervisors: Prof. dr. ir. G.Haesaert

Co-supervisors: M. Goeminne (PCA), S. Landschoot, Prof. dr .ir. B. Debaets, Kurt Demeulemeester (Inagro)

Period: 2013-2018