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Keywords:

  • potato cultivars;
  • powdery scab;
  • seed potatoes;
  • Solanum tuberosum;
  • Spongospora subterranea

This study was undertaken to determine the current occurrence in Scottish seed potato crops of Potato mop-top virus (PMTV), which is transmitted by Spongospora subterranea and causes spraing (brown arcs and lines) in the flesh of potato tubers, rendering them unsaleable. In 2004, a stratified survey of four commonly grown cultivars was conducted, while in 2007 and 2008, only samples from powdery scab-affected crops were collected. The incidence of crops in which infection by PMTV was present was 37·5% in the stratified survey in 2004, but was greater in surveys in which tubers with powdery scab were tested (47·2% in 2007 and 44·6% in 2008). Similarly, the frequency of crops with incidences of more than 10% tuber infection was lower (9·4%) in 2004 than in 2007 (25·4%) and in 2008 (26·2%). Significant differences in crop infection were found amongst the four major seed-producing regions and the counties within these regions. The incidence of crop and tuber infection was least for class Pre-basic seed potatoes and greatest for class Super Elite 3 and Elite seed potatoes. The results indicate that the prevalence of PMTV has not increased since surveys in the early 1970s.