17 January 2022
A nose for disease ...
AN American woman has trained her dogs to sniff out potato diseases, and is to work alongside seed potato certification programmes.
A recent article in the Idaho State Journal described how Andrea Parish's dogs can identify infected potatoes 48 hours after inoculation. Her business, entitled, Nose Knows Scouting, works with storage facilities and in fields spanning an area from Washington to Maine, and was launched in 2019.
Zora, her black Labrador retriever and Dudley, a yellow Lab named Dudley, are trained in PVY detection, while Raya, a Vizsla-Lab mix, is trained in bacterial ring rot detection.
The PVY detection service is most in demand, she said. Her dogs will run through the ventilation tubes, called the plenum, beneath seed potatoes in storage and sniff through the holes above for infected tubers. Powdery scab, potato wart and nematode detection could be added to the company's offering in the future.