04 July 2023
Europatat participates in new Patafest project to protect potato plants against emerging new pests.
A NEW EU Horizon Europe project to protect potato plants against emerging new pests has been officially launched in Madrid, Spain.
European Potato Trade Association, Europatat, will be an active partner in the project, named PATAFEST, which will aim to protect potato plants by means of pest spreading and resistance characterisation, pre-harvest treatments, and post-harvest solutions.
Potato crops are considered vulnerable to a variety of pests and soilborne pathogen diseases. One of the most important pests is caused by bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso), causing a disease known as zebra chip (ZC). The introduction of CLso bacterium on potato is mainly linked to the presence of the vector psyllid Bactericera cockerelli (BC) causing severe damage, both in terms of yield losses and quality.
Main potato post-harvest diseases as dry rot, black dot and silver scurf, are caused by soil-borne pathogens that have incidence in both field and storage. All these potential threats may result in significant economic losses in the potato industry and food losses.
To avoid these potential risks, the project will develop a unique approach to identify resistance genes in potato varieties against selected pests and pathogens in order to develop strategies to control the spread of potato pests and reduce potato post-harvest diseases. More concretely, the project will:
- Characterise at molecular level the ecological pest spread pathway and identify potato disease resistance varieties against CLso and postharvest pathogens.
- Provide effective preharvest plant and soil treatments against CLso vector and soil-borne pathogens combined with other cutting-edge digital technologies such as image analysis tools (mobile app) and artificial intelligence predictive models.
- Develop postharvest technologies (biocontrol coating solution, controlled atmosphere storage and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) sensors) to control the incidence of soil pathogens and maintain the quality of potato tubers stored.
The PATAFEST consortium has 18 partners, including international cooperation with Ecuador, and led by Funditec. The project will run until May 2027. Europatat’s role will be related with the dissemination of project’s goals, results and to provide the link between the research and EU policy makers.