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Ontario-based common scab research survey approved

Research that would help determine what species and strains of the common scab bacterium are prevalent in Ontario is underway, according to Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board.

The research would be a provincial survey of potato fields that will help provide an Ontario context to common scab, a soil-borne disease that attacks the stems, stolons, roots and emerging tubers of the potato. The Ontario Potato Board submitted the research project proposal to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program and received approval last spring.

The project will involve the collection of 50 soil samples from across the province. A & L Laboratories, based out of London, Ont., will analyze soil DNA data to identify the common scab species and strains present. Understanding the species and strains can help producers because each strain responds differently to management practices aimed at reducing the common scab. If certain strains are present in certain areas in Ontario, this will help narrow down the most effective management recommendations for growers.

Banks has already gathered a third of the soil samples and is reaching out to Ontario potato growers who are interested in participating in the survey. Grower and farm names will be kept confidential and you can contact Eugenia Banks at eugeniabanks@onpotato.ca.