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Phytopathology. 2006 Jul;96(7):777-83. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-96-0777.

Protection of susceptible potato cultivars against late blight in mixtures increases with decreasing disease pressure.


ABSTRACT Cultivar mixtures can reduce potato late blight severity on susceptible cultivars. While alternating rows of susceptible and resistant cultivars would be more acceptable than random mixtures for commercial use, they increase the genotype unit area, which is an unfavorable factor for mixture efficiency, and have been minimally efficient when disease pressure is high. The effects of disease pressure on the performance of alternating rows of cultivars possessing various types and levels of resistance were investigated in 2000 and 2001 near Quito, Ecuador, where natural pressure of late blight is high. The experiments included the highly susceptible cvs. Cecilia in 2000 and LBr37 in 2001, as well as C114 (moderately resistant) and PAN (highly resistant), planted as pure stands and as the three possible two-way combinations. Different disease pressures were obtained with three spraying schedules of a contact fungicide: nontreated, one spray every second week, and one spray weekly. The area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) on the susceptible cultivar was 0 to 20% less in mixed than in pure plots when no fungicide was applied, 13 to 26% less with a biweekly application of fungicide, and 32 to 53% less with a weekly application. These values are comparable to those obtained in previous experiments in smaller plots with designs maximizing the distance between susceptible plants. No significant differences in mixture performance were observed according to the resistant cultivar included. Effects on yield were minimal, because of the impact of factors other than late blight. Disease pressure therefore appears as a major factor conditioning the efficiency of potato cultivar mixtures against late blight.

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