After conducting common scab research for many years, Eugenia Banks, a potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, thought a provincial survey of potato fields would help to understand what species and strains of the common scab bacterium are prevalent in Ontario.
A research project was submitted by the potato board to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program, says Banks. The project to collect 50 soil samples from across the province was approved last spring, she says. Ontario-based A & L Canada Laboratories will analyze soil DNA to identify the common scab species and strains present.
“This is very important because different species or strains may respond differently to management practices recommended to reduce common scab,” says Banks.
The potato specialist said she’ll be reaching out to growers to take part in the survey, noting those growers and their farm names will be kept confidential. The project is well underway as Banks notes she has already gathered one-third of the samples.