Could Strike be Part of the Solution for Potato Wart?

Potato Wart was discovered in the United States in Pennsylvania in 1918, and then later in Maryland and West Virginia. It was eradicated in 1994 and has not been detected since. But for our neighbors to the north and around the world, certain regions wrestle and worry about this disease that can lead to the destruction of a massive amount of potatoes and can and has led to bans on the import of seed potatoes.

What is Potato Wart? Synchytrium endobioticum is a soilborne fungal pathogen that requires a living host to reproduce. It infects cultivated potato and produces thick-walled resting spores within the tuber. The tuber becomes distorted with warts, which is why the disease is called potato wart. The resting spores can survive at depths of 50cm in soil and remain viable for up to 30 years without a plant host.

It’s a serious issue and we are working to help potato growers who are plagued by this pathogen. The soil fumigant Strike, built around the active ingredient chloropicrin, has proven impressively effective at suppressing major soil-borne potato diseases including common scab and early die complex. It works on multiple types of soil pathogens, but it’s especially effective against fungi. Could it be the tool to tackle the potato wart fungi too? We’re in the process of finding out.

We are currently conducting Strike soil fumigation trials in potato wart infected fields in Poland, and we’re just getting rolling on laboratory trials. We’re pleased to be working closely with the Polish Potato Federation on the project, with preliminary results hopefully available as soon as fall 2024.

We will be keeping you up to date on our progress here on the blog. If you’d like to read more about this topic, check out a recent article we contributed to SpudSmart: Could Strike be Part of the Solution for Potato Wart? – Spud Smart.