A solution to seed disease spread?

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10 May 2022
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New cutting machine trials ongoing

A NEW machine could offer a solution for minimising spread of disease during seed tuber cutting, it has been claimed.

Many growers cut seed tubers to increase seed availability for planting but the practice poses a risk of mechanical transmission of diseases caused by bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens. For example, bacterial ring rot is a disease with zero resistance and spread of the disease can occur during seed tuber cutting operations.

Manufacturers currently disinfect seed cutting equipment between seed lots using chlorine or quaternary ammonium compounds. While this practice is effective in containing the spread of the disease between seed lots, there is a constant risk of disease transmission when tubers are cut.

Tyler Thompson (former Farm Manager at the San Louis Valley Research Center) worked with Ronald Price (Research Farm Technician at the San Louis Valley Research Center) to develop a Flame Sterilizing Potato Seed Tuber Cutting Machine.

The basic concept of this invention involves heating seed cutting discs (using a fuel mixture of acetylene and compressed air) to about 250°F to effectively kill all pathogens, thereby limiting the spread of disease. A patent application describing this innovative technology has also been filed with CSUVentures. 

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The Plant Pathology Program, led by Dr Chakradhar Mattupalli at the San Luis Valley Research Center, is currently conducting research to demonstrate the effectiveness of the machine in reducing the spread of bacterial and viral diseases that can occur during seed cutting operations. Preliminary results are encouraging and post-harvest trials are underway.

Source/Photo: Potato System