Vegetable Research & Innovation

Potato wart: the disease in New Zealand, the national eradication programme, and methods of control

Potato wart (caused by Synchytrium endobioticum) was first recorded in a
home garden near Invercargill City in 1970. Since then the disease has been
reported on a total of 41 properties, all home gardens. By far the majority of
the records have been from Invercargill City, but several confirmed
occurrences of the disease have been from properties outside Invercargill,
over a widespread area as far north as Oamaru. The latest report of the
disease was recorded as “eradicated” in 2002.
In this report, the national approach to eradication of potato wart in New
Zealand is assessed. The disease has remained confined to home gardens,
and reports of potato wart have been rare, suggesting that the eradication
programme, though apparently not strictly formalised, has been effective in
preventing spread of the disease. Several recommendations are made
relating to the current approach to eradicating the disease and possible
routes for transmission of potato wart to commercial potato-growing
operations are considered. The report also summarises general information
on potato wart, including the biology of the pathogen, disease symptoms and
control methods.