A biologically intensive approach to induce the natural immunity of potatoes against the pathogens inciting Late Blight and Verticillium wilt
CSANR Project 139
The overall objective of this proposal is to develop a procedure for improving the natural immunity of potato adequately to ward off the destructive pathogens causing Late Blight ad Verticillium wilt. Our lab’s preliminary research has determined that some yeast-like non-pathogenic fungi can induce a defense response in plants, either with the DNase enzyme they release or by the presence of the intact fungal cell applied to potato leaves prior to the arrival of the pathogen. A second agent, a chelating agent, acts by the same mode (alteration of the plant DNA structure) to also induce immunity. The immunity response is monitored with an excised leaf assay. This assay will further screen immunity- enhancing yeast-like species and determine the optimal levels of these agents that will be both effective and economical. We expect all the enhancing agents to comply with the regulations of the National Organic Program (NOP). Following the leaf assay, the benefits will be assessed in intact plants under greenhouse conditions and finally under field conditions.