WP descriptions

The foundation for this project is recommendations from the EuroBlight workshop in York, May 2019. The work programme is organised according to the work packages (WP) described below, with the inter-relationship expressed in the project diagram given at the bottom of this page.

WP1. Identify Effective Biological Control Agents and Plant Resistance Inducers for the Control of Potato Late Blight

Mati Koppel, EMU

Lead of WP1

Aim: To identify and exploit biological control agents (BCA) and plant resistance inducers (PRI) for the control of potato late blight in the field. To be achieved through laboratory, glasshouse and field studies:

  • Select candidate BCA and PRI and assess their disease control efficacy in laboratory and glasshouse tests

  • Understand factors affecting disease control efficacy (cultivar resistance, timing and method of application).

  • Study mode of activity to inform IPM, resistance management (WP5) and sub-models (WP4)

  • Select candidates for inclusion in IPM strategies for late blight control (WP5).

WP2. Identify Effective Biological Control Agents and Plant Resistance Inducers for the control of Potato Early Blight

Hans Hausladen, TUM

Lead of WP2

Aim: To identify and exploit BCAs and PRIs able to control early blight (EB) of potato in the field.

  • A range of BCAs and PRIs will initially be tested under greenhouse conditions on cultivars with a range of resistance to early blight.

  • Mode of activity will be examined using microscopy and chemical analysis (BCAs, e.g. Kexiang et al, 2002) and phytohormone analysis (PRIs, e.g. van Aubel et al., 2018).

  • Promising candidates will be tested under field conditions and results will inform the development and testing of IPM strategies (WP5).

  • Emphasis will be placed on understanding optimal timing of application of PRIs, as this is known to be critical to their efficacy in practice.

  • The results of WP 2 are the basis for the adaptation of existing DSS models development of sub-models (WP4) for optimizing the application of BCAs and PRIs for control of EB.

  • Knowledge of the mode of activity and the optimal timing of effective BCAs and PRIs form the basis for sustainable pathogen control of early blight in the future.

WP3. Optimising the use of host resistance in Late Blight IPM

David Cooke, JHI

Lead of WP3

Aim: To improve the understanding and exploitation of data on pathogen effectors/avirulence genes (Avr genes) and host resistance (R) genes for improved breeding of durable blight resistance in potato cultivars to be used as part of a late blight IPM system. Such resistance is critical for optimal integration of BCAs and PRIs in IPM. This will be achieved Through a combination of field-based screening of resistant material in partner countries and desk-based collation of key published data and resources:

  • A framework of host resistance and pathogen virulence data will be established and unpublished data from within the consortium catalogued to aid future resistance breeding and resistance deployment.

  • Pathogen virulence data (existing virulence profiles and libraries of pathogen effectors) will be collated and combined with data on late blight R genes in known cultivars and new breeding material. This will be valuable in predicting the effectiveness, durability and optimal deployment of R genes in new cultivars before release.

  • This WP will assess known clonal lineages of P. infestans in Europe for their virulence profile (Avr genes) against known R genes.

  • The establishment and monitoring of trap nursery plots of existing and novel sources of late blight resistance is needed to assess the utility and stability of such resistance upon exposure to the pathogen populations in multiple locations in Europe and to act as an early warning system for new strains.

  • Data from this WP will feed into WPs 1 and 2 and is critical to the success of IPM strategies in WP5 that integrate BCAs and PRIs with host resistance.

WP4. Adapting existing Decision Support Systems for the utilisation of BCAs and PRIs

Isaac K Abuley, AU

Lead of WP4

Aim: Adapt DSSs developed for use with conventional fungicides for the effective use of BCAs and PRIs in an IPM strategy. We hypothesize that the efficacy of BCAs and PRI, as components of a wider IPM strategy, can be optimised by their targeted application at critical stages in the disease cycle via the use of weather based forecasting tools (i.e. DSSs). Therefore,

  • New sub-models, designed to optimize the timing of application of PRI and BCAs will be developed with data generated from WP1 and WP2 and,

  • These sub-models will tested under field conditions in partner countries (WP5).

  • The output will be used for updating national DSSs (DK, SE, FI, EE) for optimal timing of BCA and PRI application. 

  • The updated DSSs will be tested in field trials as part of WP 5.

  • Sub-models will be made available as a template for use with other host-pathosystems.

WP5. Developing and Testing IPM Strategies

Marjo Hokka, PETLA

Lead of WP5

Aim: Test and demonstrate an effective, combined IPM strategy for EB and LB, which reduces dependence on fungicides, future-proofs disease control and protects yield, whilst minimizing inputs. We hypothesize that BCA/PRIs will only achieve effective control of EB and LB under field conditions through such an IPM strategy, rather than as a stand-alone method. This will be achieved through: 

  • The integration of knowledge and data generated in WPs1-4

  • Test of BCA/PRIs across different climatic conditions and

  • The development and test of a combined LB and EB IPM protocol.

WP6. Project and data management, communication and dissemination

Jens Grønbech Hansen, AU

Lead of WP6

Aim: To organise and facilitate an effective project management, communication and dissemination of result. This will be achieved through: 

  • Project management including organisation of meetings and reports.

  • Implement infrastructure for project management, reporting, communication and dissemination.

  • Develop a FAIR Data Management Plan (DMP) for the project.

  • Develop and implement a Plan for Exploitation and Dissemination of the Results (PEDR)

  • Adapt the existing ICT infrastructure and web tools at AU to the needs of ECOSOL