Chemical disinfectants can reduce potato blackleg caused by ‘Dickeya solani’

Czajkowski, R.L.; Boer, W.J. de; Wolf, J.M. van der


Treatments of tubers with chemical disinfectants (70 % ethanol, 1 % sodium hypochlorite, 2 % copper sulphate, 5 % peracetic acid, 10 % hydrogen peroxide, 1 % MennoClean (benzoic acid), 5 % trisodium phosphate and 0.2 % caffeine) were evaluated for control of blackleg caused by ‘D. solani’. All disinfectants effectively killed bacteria in axenic cultures within 5 min and all, except hydrogen peroxide and trisodium phosphate, were able to kill ‘D. solani’ in spiked potato extracts. Treatments with all disinfectants except trisodium phosphate, reduced the pathogen populations on the periderm of tubers previously inoculated by dipping in a suspension of ‘D. solani’, when the disinfectant was applied for at least 15 min. However, in replicated greenhouse experiments, treatments with all disinfectants except hydrogen peroxide and caffeine resulted in phytotoxicity, reducing sprouting of tubers with 10 – 100 %. Sodium hypochlorite and MennoClean were selected for further studies. Treatments of inoculated tubers with these disinfectants prevented developing of soft rot symptoms on tubers when subjected to favourable rotting conditions. In replicated greenhouse experiments, inoculated tubers treated with sodium hypochlorite and MennoClean reduced the blackleg disease incidences from 50 % to 0 % and to 5 %, respectively, and symptomless infection of potato stems from 93 % to 0 % and to 5 %, respectively. A combination of both compounds was highly phytotoxic. The potential use of sodium hypochlorite and MennoClean in an integrated management strategy for potato blackleg is discussed