b'CANADIAN POTATO COUNCILGetting to the Bottomof Common ScabThe first national common scab research project has the Canadian potato industry seeing common scab in a whole new light.BY: ASHLEY ROBINSONTUBERS ACROSS CANADA have fallen victim to a bacterium lurking in the soil for years. When soils are dry, brown lesions appear on potatoes. And while these spuds can still be eaten safely, the lesions in some cases cut deep holes in them and cause problems for the industry.While some research has been done in Canada on the potato disease common scab, there hasnt been much done on a national level. It hasnt just been one region of the Great White North affected by this disease, growers across the country have found themselves stuck with these ugly spuds.For Tracy Shinners-Carnelley, vice president of research, quality and sustainability at Peak of the Market in Manitoba, and Newton Yorinori, director of plant breeding, seed development and research at Cavendish Farms in Prince Edward Island, they knew something needed to be done on a national level to address common scab.At the time, the Canadian Potato Council (CPC) was looking for research projects to focus on. The group was applying for cluster projects funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) with the Canadian Horticultural Council. Shinners-Carnelley and Yorinori thought a closer look at common scab was a good fit for the cluster projects.In Ontario, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, they had worked on scab a lot. But we hadnt and my first thought was well, who do I know thats been active in this research space? And thats Claudia, Shinners-Carnelley explains in a phone interview. I was trying to find out what was already happening. And start to ask some questions about where we start potentially with some strategies around attempting to manage scab, which is always such a difficult one because there are no easy answers.Shinners-Carnelley and Yorinori approached Claudia Goyer, a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)sClaudia Goyer holding potatoes with common scab symptoms. Fredericton Research and Development Centre. They wantedPHOTO: JULIE ROOTto work with her to try and find a way to control the bacteria affecting potatoes.Once you have common scab in your fields, its really difficult to get rid of it. Theres different species that are causing common What is Common Scab? scab but the one that is found like pretty much everywhere in Common scab has been around for more than 100 years. Itsthe world is Streptomyces scabies, Goyer explains in a phone caused by a filamentous bacterium found in soil. When soilinterview.conditions are dry, it enters tubers through the lenticels makingThere are other species of common scab though that are found brownish lesions on spuds. As the potatoes grow the lesionsregionally, including Streptomyces acidiscabies and Streptomyces become larger. As its a soil borne disease and a bacterium,turgidiscabies. According to Goyer they all produce a group of Goyer says its harder to control as there are no chemicalsplant toxins called thaxtominswhich is how common scab available to control it. causes the brown lesions on potatoes.38SPUDSMART.COM Winter 2022'