National Reference Laboratory for Plant Health - Bacteria, Sub-Division Potatoes

Potato production occupies an important place in agriculture. However, crop yields may be threatened by harmful organisms. In order to increase not only production capacity but also agricultural productivity, potato production must be protected from harmful organisms and potato seed potato quality must be maintained at a high level in terms of health status through the certification system in cooperation with the Official Plant Protection Service in Austria.

Pest organisms are systematically controlled within the EU and at the same time measures are taken to prevent their spread. Clavibacter michiganensis (Smith) Davis et al. ssp. sepedonicus (Spieckermann et Kotthoff) Davis et al. the causal agent of bacterial ring rot and Ralstonia solanacearum (Smtih) Yabuuchi et al. the causal agent of bacterial brown rot (slime disease) are dangerous quarantine pests for potato.

According to the standards in question, seed potatoes must be free from quarantine harmful organisms. Therefore, Council Directive 93/85/EEC1 of October 4, 1993, on the control of bacterial ring rot of potato, and Council Directive 98/57/EC2 of July 20, 1998, on the control of Ralstonia solanacearum (Smith) Yabuuchi et al. are to be applied, which have been implemented by the respective provincial legal regulations based on the crop protection laws of the Länder.

In 2021, the EU regulations were revised, with the main changes concerning the diagnostic part. Real-time methods for the detection of Clavibacter sepedonicus and Ralstonia solanacearum were included in the regulations, as well as a mandatory Ralstonia phylotype test for the identification of the Ralstonia solanacearum species complex. The pathogenicity test is now only required in critical cases and the isolation of Clavibacter is only required from symptomatic samples.

The diagnostic annex of the EU regulations for the detection of Ralstonia solanacearum and Clavibacter sepedonicus in potatoes are in line with the EPPO (Plant Protection Organization for Europe and the Mediterranean) diagnostic standards PM7/21 PM 7/21 (2)Ralstonia solanacearum, R. pseudosolanacearum and R. syzygii (Ralstonia solanacearum species complex) and PM7/59 Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. sepedonicus.


Mag. Bernhard Föger

Last updated: 10.10.2023

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