Potato tuber corky cracks caused by multiple Rhizoctonia species

23 Oct 2020

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is the most consumed and economically important vegetable crop in the world. Nutritionally, potato is ideal for human consumption and provides a balanced source of starch, high-quality proteins, vitamins, trace elements and dietary fibre. This makes it an ideal crop to feed many communities and ensure food security. To increase potato production, research is focused on disease control, soil health, good farm management practices, seed quality and breeding of high-yielding varieties. However, the potato crop, as with many other agricultural crops, is susceptible to devastation by various diseases. Potato diseases reduce the yield and quality of fresh produce and therefore pose a threat to food security. Potato tuber blemishes constitute a persistent quality problem in the production of potato and contribute to major economic losses in South Africa and globally. They can cause severe yield losses, rejection of seed batches, downgrading of potatoes on the market, or rejection of potatoes for processing. The demand for washed potatoes by South African consumers highlights the problem of blemished tubers. It is important for farmers to optimise their disease management strategies to avoid yield losses and downgrading of tubers in the fresh produce market in South Africa.