Alberta is launching a two-year project to develop a platform for the rapid diagnosis of current and potential potato diseases in the province, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) say in the June 1 Potato Minute newsletter. The project is jointly funded the Alberta Plant Health Lab and Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR), with $343,844 coming from RDAR.
The project will establish a system for early and rapid diagnosis of all potato diseases, the newsletter notes. Potato diseases have the potential to limit yields and prevent market access for Alberta growers.
“We are taking a proactive approach to disease management by providing our growers with an assurance platform that will allow us to respond quickly to plant health concerns before they become damaging to our industry,” the newsletters says.
The developed protocols will be optimized for use in Alberta and will be used by the Alberta Plant Health Lab to expand rapid diagnosis capacity. The protocols will also be shared with other Alberta researchers and labs, the newsletter notes.
Two new staff has been hired by the PGA for the project. Junye Jiang has been hired as the research lead and Will Feindel as the lab technologist. They will work out of the PGA North office and the Alberta Plant Health Lab for the next two years.