P.E.I. research scientists look for ways to grow scab-resistant potato

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TWO research scientists on P.E.I. have spent their summer trying to grow a better potato, more resistant to scab and greening, which are both costly problems for potato growers, according to news channel CBC.

"Common scab is actually caused by a bacterium that's in the soil and you can find it just about everywhere, not even necessarily in agricultural soils," said Rick Peters, vegetable pathologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Charlottetown.

"It causes a significant lesion on the potato. It's very disfiguring, so obviously for a table potato, it's not very good for market value," Peters said.

"Sometimes it also causes very deep pits and that affects french fry production, too, because you have to peel off so much of the potato to get rid of those pits."

Scab on the increase
Peters said P.E.I. has experienced warm, dry summers over the last four years and that has led to more instances of scab.

"Diseases I would normally expect to find here, like late blight, we are not seeing," Peters said.

"Instead we're seeing more common scab, more things like early blight and brown spot on the leaves. So a different spectrum of pathogens and diseases than we would typically have."

For further details visit www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-potato-research-scab-1.5745940