Vol.2, No.3, 297-300 (2011) Agricultural Sciences
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
Integrated pest management of potatoes
Y asa r Alptekin
Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University, Kahramanmaras, Turkey;
*Corresponding Au thor: yasar.alptekin@gmail.com
Received 14 April 2011; revised 23 May 2011; accepted 28 July 2011.
The potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is the most
important dicotyledonous source of hu- man
food. It ranks fifth major food crop of the world,
exceed only by the grasses such as wheat, rice,
maize, and barley. It is characte- ristically a crop
of the cool, temperate regions or of elevation of
approximately 2000 m or more in the tropics. It
requires cool nights and well drained soil with
adequate m o istu re a nd do es n o t p r o duc e well in
low altitude, warm, tropical environment. Com-
mercial production of most potatoes is primarily
through vegetative propagation by means of
lateral buds formed on the tuber, a modified
stem. T rough such veget ative prop agation, many
diseases are transmitted from generation to
generation. Suppression of such diseases and
reduction of yield losses due to disease are a
necessary part of increasing the food supply.
The principles, strategies, and tactics of plant
disease management are important to preven-
ting yield losses. Integrated pest management
(IPM) may supply effective control of the potato
pests includi n g ap hids (v ec tor o f some virus es),
Verticillium wilt blackleg, bacterial ring rot,
Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora infestans (late blight)
and several weeds (night shades, pigweeds,
lambs quarters, and annual grass es). It includes
regular inspection for healthy seed or nursery,
crop production, correct identification of the
problem, cultural practices (crop rotation, sani-
tation etc.), biological control, soil fumigation (if
necessary), seed or nursery stock treatment
and disinfestations of cutting tools. In this re-
view, pest management methods of potatoes
included in IPM was summarized.
Keywords: Potato; IPM; Pests and Diseases
No single management program is suitable for all po-
tato crops. Pest problems vary from field to field and
season to season because of differences in soil type,
cropping history, cultural practices, cultivar, and the na-
ture of surrounding land. Choice of market and market
conditions also affect the feasibility of management op-
tions because they determine how a crop must be han-
dled and the value of that crop. Regard less of conditions,
however, four components are essential to any IPM pro-
gram: 1) Accurate pest identification 2) field monitoring
3) control action guidelines 4) effective management
methods [1].
Because most pest management tools, including pesti-
cides, are effective only against certain pest species, one
must know which pests are present and which are likely
to appear. Different control methods may be n eeded even
for closely related species.
By monitoring his field, one can get the information
he needs to make management decisions. Monitoring
includes keeping records of weather, crop development,
and management practices, as well as evaluating inci-
dence and levels of pest infestations.
Control action guidelines indicate when management
actions, including pesticide applications, are needed to
avoid losses due to pests or other stresses. Guidelines for
most pathogens and weeds are usually based on the his-
tory of a field or region, the stage of crop development,
observed symptoms or damage, weather conditions, and
other obse r vat i on s
2.1. Seed Quality and Certification
A number of pests can be transmitted in infected seed
tubers, including bacterial ring rot, blackleg, common
scab, late blight, potato viruses, powdery scab, Rhizoc-
tonia, root knot nematodes, silver scurf, and wilt dis-
eases. In order to prevent these problems, one must start
with healthy stock [2]. Stem cutting and micro-propaga-
tion techniques have been developed to obtain pest-free
potato plants for propagation and production of certified
seed tubers. Disease-free stem cuttings or tiny pieces of
Y. Alptekin / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 297-300
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
meristem tissue are cultured and propagated under sterile
conditions to produce large numbers of disease-free
plantlets or mini tubers. Several generations of plants are
grown in the field to produce certified seed tubers that
will be sold to commercial growers [3].
Extra precautions are taken to reduce the incidence
and spread of pests in fields where seed potatoes are
grown. Most seed potatoes are grown in cool, short sea-
son areas where pest populations, including vectors of
potato viruses, remain low and the symptoms of infected
plants easier to recognize. Ideally, seed fields are iso-
lated from commercial fields and home gardens from
which potato viruses could be transmitted by aphids.
2.2. Biological Control
Any activity of a parasite, predator, or pathogen that
keeps a pest population lower than it would be otherwise
is considered biological control. One of the first assess-
ments that should be made in an IPM program is the
potential role of natural enemies and hyperparasites in
controlling pests. Control by natural enemies and hy-
perparasites is inexpensive, effective, self-perpetuating,
and not disruptive of natural balances in the crop eco-
Natural enemies that affect nematodes, weeds, and
fungi are being studied, but as yet no practices are rec-
ommended for improving biological control of these
pests. Bacteria antagonistic to Erwinia caratovora are
being developed as seed piece treatments for reducing
seed piece decay and blackleg. Among rhizobacteria
Agrobacterium radiobacter, Bacillus subtilus and Pseu-
domonas spp. are antagonistic to potato cyst nematodes
(Globodera pallida and G. rostochiensis although Pas-
reuria penetrans attach PCN [4]. Larkin [5] reported that
soil-application of aerated compost tea (ACT) and the
combination of ACT with a mixture of seven different
mycorrhizal fungus species belong to Glomus spp. re-
duced stem canker, black scurf, and common scab on
tubers by 18% - 33% and increased yield 20% - 23% in
the barley/ryegrass rotation, but not in the other rota-
2.3. Resistant Cultivars
Plant breeding is one of the most powerful tools av ail-
able for both the management of pests and the produc-
tion of the best crop. Pest management is one of many
factors that must be taken into account when choosing
cultivars. Cultivars resistant or tolerant to disease can
help reduce losses caused by some soil-borne pathogens
and provide long-term, economical protection from con-
ditions that otherwise could inflict severe losses every
Part of ever y breeding program is the search for resis-
tance to serious diseases, disorders, and nematode pests.
Resistance to insect pests is being investigated. New
potato breeding selections are assessed for resistance to
several viruses, leaf-roll net necrosis, root-knot nema-
todes, Verticillium wilt, scab, blackleg, early blight, and
several physiological diso rd er s [6] .
2.4. Chemical Control with Pesticides
Properly used, pesticides can provide economical
protection from pests that otherwise would cause sig-
nificant losses. In many situations, they are the only fea-
sible means of control. Careless or excessive use of pes-
ticides, however, can result in poor control, crop da-
mage, higher expenses, and hazards to health and envi-
ronment. In an IPM program, pesticides are used only
when field monitoring indicates they are needed to pre-
vent losses.
Fungicides can reduce damage caused by certain
foliar pathogen such as powdery mildew, late blight, and
severe early blight. To be effective, they usually must be
applied before infection occurs or when the disease just
begins to develop. Soil fumigants may be used to control
nematodes or Verticillium.
Proper management of the potato crop, from field
preparation and planting through harvesting and storage
is essential for maximum yields of high quality tubers.
Many cultural practices including seed selection and
handling, planting, irrigation, fertilization, vine killing,
careful harvesting methods have a significant impact on
pest damage. Even when you cannot choose cultural
methods solely for their effect on pest management, it is
important to understand their impact on pests so that you
will know what to expect.
Careful water management helps prevent Rhizoctonia
and piece decay early in the growth of the plant, reduces
tuber malformation and symptoms of Verticillium wilt
during the season, the severity of scab, and helps prevent
tuber rots as plants mature and die. Excess fertilization
of indeterminate cultivars delays tuber growth and may
reduce yields [7]
3.1. Sanitation
Sanitation is essential to the prevention of seed piece
infection during cutting and handling, and prevention of
spread of the pathogens in contaminated soil, water, and
field equipment. Strict sanitation requirements must be
followed in growing seed potatoes.
Any potato cull piles shou ld be destroyed or sprayed
to ensure that no Phytophthora sporangia will be blown
Y. Alptekin / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 297-300
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
from there to the potato plants in the field later on. Cull
potatoes are excellent hosts for potato diseases and can
provide a safe haven for potato insects to increase in
numbers. Important pests that can be harbored in waste
potatoes include late blight, potato leaf roll virus (PLRV),
bacterial ring rot, and nematodes. Soil associated with
cull potatoes can be infested with pests su ch as powdery
scab, nematodes, and weed seeds. Waste potatoes must
be handled correctly to eliminate these and other poten-
tial dangers [8]. Tubers are cut with disinfested knifes to
reduce spread of ring rot among seed pieces and the seed
pieces usually treated with a fungicide, a bactericide, and
an insecticide to protect them from pathogens on their
surface or in the soil [2].
3.2. Crop Rotation
Proper crop rotations enhance soil fertility, maintain
soil structure, reduce certain pest problems, increase so il
organic matter, and conserve soil moisture [3]. Generally,
most useful rotations for potato fields are forage crops
and grains, including corn. Crop rotation is useful for
control of soil-inhabiting pathogens that have limited
host ranges and require host plant residues for survival.
Rotation is less effective for pathogens such as Verticil-
lium spp. or Phytophthora erythroseptica, which can
survive in the soil fo r a long time in the absence of host.
It is best not to follow a potato crop with another, and
rotation with legumes, corn, or other unrelated crops will
reduce the population of potato pathogens. Soil popula-
tions of beneficial culturable bacteria and overall micro-
bial activity which is suppressive to potato pathogens
tended to be highest following barley, canola, and sweet
corn rotations, and lowest with continuous potato [9].
3.3. Seed Treatment
Seed piece decay frequently involves a Fusarium
fungus acting synergistically with bacteria. Therefore,
chemical seed treatments, which primarily act as fungi-
cides, are useful when conditions favor development of
Fusarium on seed pieces.
3.4. Irrigation
Availability of soil water is a major factor that deter-
mines yield and qu ality of the potato crop. To o little wa-
ter will reduce yields, induce tuber malformations, or
increase severity of scab or Verticillium with symptoms.
Excess or poorly timed irrig ation may reduce yield or in
storage or leach nutrients from root zone. Fluctuations in
water availability favor disorders such as second growth
and internal necrosis.
Sprinkler systems provide the most flexibility and
most efficient water application, and fertilizers and some
pesticides can be applied through sprinklers. Sprinkler
irrigation provides conditions in the canopy that are fa-
vorable for certain diseases such as early blight, late
blight, and white mold (Sclerotinia spp.). To reduce
spread of these diseases, foliage should be allowed to
dry out between irrigations.
3.5. Fertilization
Adequate nutrient availability throughout the growing
season is necessary for the best yield and quality. If nu-
trient deficiencies occur during tuber growth, the plant
shunts nutrients from the stems and leaves to the grow-
ing tubers, thereby hastening aging of the vines and
yields are reduced. On the other hand, excess fertilizer
delays the onset of tuber growth in indeterminate culti-
vars and may reduce their yields; tuber decay after har-
vest may also be increased an d processing qualities such
as specific gravity may be lowered.
3.6. Harvest
Before harvest, the infected vines must be killed with
chemicals to destroy late blight inoculum that could be
in contact with the tubers when they are dug up [2].
Prevention of bruising is one of the most important
considerations in a well managed harvest operations.
Blackspot and shatter bruise can seriously affect marke-
table yield if precautions are not taken to reduce them
3.7. Sprout Inhibitors
Sprout inhibitors should be applied to fresh market or
processing potato tubers that are to be stored for more
than 2 to 3 months. Low storage temperature cannot be
used to prevent sprouting without undesirable accumula-
tion of sugars. Foliar applications of sprout inhibitors are
used: One, maleic hydro z ide, is app lied to potatoes while
they are still actively growing; the other, chlorpropham
(CIPC), is applied through the ventilation system in
storage. These sprout inhibitors should never be applied
to seed potatoes.
3.8. Storage
A large part of the crop in most growing areas is
stored for fresh market or processing during the winter
and spring. Design can vary but most storage facilities
have controls for temperature, humidity, and ventilation.
Ventilation is essential during storage. It removes heat
and excess moisture that may condense on colder tubers,
and heat produced by respiration; at the same time it
helps provide even temperature and humidity within the
storage area and oxygen to support tuber respiration.
Y. Alptekin / Agricultural Science 2 (2011) 297-300
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/AS/
Uniform airflow throughout the pile is important.
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