Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (LSo) is a highly damaging pathogen of solanaceous plants, which has caused very serious losses to the production of potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and aubergine. In potato the pathogen causes the disease zebra chip, which poses the most serious threat to the UK, though impacts on glasshouse production of tomatoes and peppers could also be damaging. The disease is currently only known to be transmitted by the potato /tomato psyllid Bactericera cockerelli, which is not known to be present in Scotland.
Pest Risk Analysis (PRA)
A UK pest risk analysis has been undertaken. LSo and B. cockerelli are listed as European and Mediterranean
Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) A1 organisms recommended for regulation but are not currently listed in the European Union (EU) Plant Health Directive. In line with the PRA recommendation, the UK Plant Health Service is pressing the EU to consider if regulatory requirements for both the pathogen and B. cockerelli are necessary to reduce the risk of its entry to the EU.
Scottish Government is also funding research into the detection and monitoring of Psyllid vectors of LSo in Scotland.
Title of Project: Detection and Monitoring of Psyllid Vectors of Candidatus Liberibacter Solanacearum in Scotland
Abstract: Scotland's seed potato industry has a retail value estimated at £4bn. The industry has exceptional standards of health and is a world-leading producer. Jumping plant lice transmit a bacteria to potatoes that threatens potato production elsewhere in the world. Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), Rothamsted Research and partners aim to understand the possible threat to the Scottish potato industry through the use of molecular methods, monitoring and statistical modelling. The team will report in early 2017.