The Early Blight complex of potato (Solanum tuberosum), caused by several species of the fungal genus Alternaria, is a foliar disease that can cause severe damage to potato canopies.
There is little information on the actual yield penalty caused by the disease. Given the fact that any yield loss is probably an effect of the decrease in the photosynthetic potential of the plant, there is a need for a better understanding of the interplay between pathogen-induced destruction of leaf area and how this affects the plant development and subsequent growth of the plant.
The complex relationships between plant architecture, light interception, disease progress on different canopy levels and various timings of disease onset throughout the life span of the potato crop, make the Early Blight – potato pathosystem a suitable candidate for exploration via the use of a Functional Structural Plant Model.
The idiosyncrasies and unique architecture of the potato plant, pose a big challenge while at the same time a potato FSPM would be an asset for further exploration of the ever-popular potato crop.