Posted 27 July 2019
“PCN continues to pose a threat to potatoes across the globe with countries like the USA identifying new issues every day while others are only now identifying the pest."
Harper Adams University is due to host its fifth Symposium of Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) Management in September with speakers and attendees from across the globe.
The event, which is held every five years, will be chaired by Dr Matthew Back, Reader in Nematology, and brings together experts and academics to share work relating to the biology, distribution and management of potato cyst nematodes (PCN).
Potato cyst nematodes are microscopic worm-like pests that lie dormant inside mature cysts and then migrate into potato roots causing irreparable damage to the roots. Each mature cyst can hold up to 600 eggs (juveniles) so that infested soils can contain several hundreds of eggs per gram of soil.
Unfortunately for potato growers, just five to ten eggs per gram of soil can lead to economic loss, overall estimated to be £26 million annually to the UK potato industry, and normal rotation lengths are too short to provide an adequate period for natural population decline in the absence of a host.
Dr Black said: “PCN continues to pose a threat to potatoes across the globe with countries like the USA identifying new issues every day while others are only now identifying the pest.
“I’m hoping that the conference will provide an opportunity for researchers, crop specialists and industry professionals to interact and discuss the latest research conducted on the management of PCN.
“As such, this could lead to further collaborative opportunities and knowledge transfer between nations. We look forward to hearing from specialists across the globe on diverse subjects such as modelling, trap cropping and varietal resistance.”
The two day event will start on September 10 at the University’s campus in Newport, Shropshire, and offers a diverse conference programme.
Dr Back said: “On the first day, Dr Solveig Haukeland, from International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya, will be discussing the distribution of PCN in Kenya and research conducted on African nightshades.
“On day two, Professor Peter Urwin will discuss work completed on a revised model for PCN management.”