What is Next in Our Fight Against Potato Blight?

Phytophthora infestans, an oomycete microorganism, has substantial financial, humanitarian and ecosystem costs. The first outbreaks of Potato Late Blight caused the infamous potato famines of the 1840s and is still a big problem in agriculture today.

Each isolate that evolves, utilises a unique cocktail of proteins to help disease progress.  However, some isolates may also trigger plant immunity in certain potato wild relatives or subspecies.

Our main challenge is to identify recognised pathogen proteins that are conserved across world populations, study how they function to promote disease and uncover the natural plant resistances that recognise them.

Fundamental research on the molecular mechanisms of phytophthora infection and plant immunity is supported by Scottish Government and BBSRC and ERC funding at The James Hutton Institute and University of Dundee to help pinpoint the key genes and proteins which make the best future targets for development of novel, safe and practical solutions for everyone.