Scottish project makes PCN breakthrough


27 January 2023
Scientists find new resistant varieties.

NEW potato varieties that are resistant to potato cyst nematodes (PCN) have been discovered by British scientists.


Scottish government-funded project,, has found new varieties with high levels of resistance. The project is a collaboration between Scotlands Rural College (SRUC), Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) and The James Hutton Institute, the three major Scottish knowledge, consultancy and research centres for potatoes in Scotland.


Previously, some varieties have been able to prevent PCN to multiplication because they are resistant to infection but the pest has still gone on to cause significant yield by eating away at root systems.

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Dr Philip Burgess who is leading the project said: "Farmers are experiencing reduced yields or are reliant on a PCN pesticide (nematicides) which may not be available in the future. What we need are potato varieties with both resistance and high levels of tolerance to the pest, and this is what we found in the field trial.”


During the trial, some potato varieties were discovered to not only stop the multiplication of PCN, but also grow well under high pest pressure, leading to a more sustainable rotation. The varieties are also suitable for production in Scotland’s climate and are consumer friendly.


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