Fried potatoes

Published: Friday 15 May 1998

A new, aggressive strain of the dreaded potato disease late blight ( Phytophthora infestans ) is devastating potatoes and tomatoes throughout the US and eastern Canada, warn American scientists. The fungus was thought responsible for the disastrous Irish potato famine in the 1840s. William Fry at Cornell University in New York State and Stephen Goodwin at Purdue University in Indiana, USA, say the strain, christened US-8, is resistant to metalaxyl, the fungicide most commonly used to combat this disease. The scientists also claim that the new strain is now so dominant and widespread that controlling it might prove to be "very difficult" ( Plant Disease , Vol 81).

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