Potatoes are the fourth most produced crop in the world with around 376.5 million tonnes recorded in 2013 (FAOSTAT, 2015). They are an important source of carbohydrate and contain dietary fibre and vitamins C and B6. Whilst being a high value crop, they can be challenging to cultivate and are subject to a number of serious pests and pathogens including plant parasitic nematodes. Left unmanaged, nematodes can escalate within the soil causing both yield loss and quality issues for the major potato sectors. The potato cyst nematodes (PCN) have quarantine status in numerous countries worldwide due to their destructive nature and long term persistence. In the advent of diminishing pesticide options and tightening legislation, new developments in PCN management are in high demand by the industry. With this in mind the 4th Symposium of Potato Cyst Nematode Management held at Harper Adams University (Shropshire, UK) took place at an important juncture of time, providing a fitting forum for researchers, crop managers, agronomists, plant breeders and industry representatives to meet and discuss future research. The scope of this symposium was widened to include other important nematode parasites of potatoes and covered many important aspects including biology, population dynamics, legislation – EU policy, international distribution, sampling and decision making, diagnostics, integrated management, resistance (including GM plants), cultural control, chemical control, biological control and novel control methods. During this 2-day event, delegates heard about recent research developments and viewed field based demonstrations.
Matthew Back, Vivian Blok, Ivan Grove, Sue Hockland and Jon Pickup