A natural defence

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European Union-funded trials indicate that a biostimulant product, code-named ERL-32, can successfully prevent potato blight infection by stimulating plants’ natural defences.

As potato growers reflect on last season and look ahead, they will once again be wary of the ongoing threat of potato late blight. This devastating disease, caused by the fungus-like pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, unfortunately thrives in the typically warm and wet growing conditions experienced during British summertime.

Most growers currently control late blight through the weekly preventative application of synthetic fungicides.

An ongoing research project being carried by Bangor University at their Henfaes Research Station, as part of the European Union (EU)-funded NASPA (Interreg Atlantic Funded) project, has so far found that a biostimulant, code-named ERL-32, can help reduce growers’ reliance on conventional chemical crop protection products by inducing resistance to even the most virulent strains of this disease.

The product, along with others being studied, is developed by Gloucestershire-based research and development specialist Emerald Research and consists of a range of organic molecules from a variety of sustainable and natural sources.

*Read all about the research and findings in the January edition of Potato Review.