Since 1996 a European network of scientists and other specialists working on potato late blight (Phytophthora infestans) and early blight (Alternaria solani) has met every two years. The network, which originated from European Concerted Actions, now has 150 members. The 15th workshop was held in May 2015 in Brasov, Romania. The papers and posters presented at the workshop and the discussions in the subgroups are presented in the Proceedings. These proceedings present the latest state of the art on all aspects of potato late and early blight. They are downloadable free of charge from the EuroBlight website www.EuroBlight.net.
The workshop was attended by 103 persons from 22 countries, including Russia, Chile, Argentine, China, Israel and the USA. Representatives from all countries presented recent research results regarding integrated control, decision support systems, the resistance of varieties, late blight in organic potatoes, and population biology and epidemiology of the late blight pathogen in potatoes. Special attention was paid to early blight, which is considered a rapidly developing disease in potato.
At the end of the workshop, EuroBlight statements were formulated to promote and improve all the R&D activities on late blight in Europe and beyond.
1. EuroBlight strongly recommends that pan-European population surveillance and monitoring using harmonised protocols, shared methodologies and integrated databases to store and exploit the data in real time should be a core activity in the C-IPM ERA-NET. EuroBlight offers to serve as a pilot network to test the practicality of such an initiative, which might be used as a template and inspiration for similar work on other pathosystems.
2. EuroBlight recommends that the challenge of linking genotypes and phenotypes in P. infestans be explicitly included as a topic for collaborative research projects within the framework of H2020, and is willing to build and lead such a project. EuroBlight also recommends that this information be used widely to develop and support pre-breeding activities to select more durably resistant potato cultivars.
3. EuroBlight commits itself to the development of improved DSS models with i) a better prediction of early infection and ii) more explicit use of pathogen phenotype and genotype data for improved accuracy of risk evaluation and management recommendations. EuroBlight expresses its concerns regarding effects of the EU regulatory framework for crop protection on the availability of fungicides to control late blight in an integrated way.
4. EuroBlight offers to contribute its tools and platforms to establish these new networks. It will also take steps to transfer them for the implementation of similar networks on other major agricultural pests of important food crops.