Zebra chips threaten potato acreage
Mar 18, 2013
Few snacks can match the flavorful crunch of the potato chip — and few people can resist eating more than one. By some estimates, Americans consume over 4.3 billion pounds of potato chips each year. The majority comes from potatoes grown in the U.S., where soils and climate provide a solid foundation for growth—and where diseases, both old and new, provide ongoing challenges to crop yield and quality.
The most recent disease to hit the country’s potato acreage threatens to wield a direct blow to the thriving processed potato market at large. Named after the thin striping it causes, zebra chip, once confined to Texas and other Southwestern potato-growing regions, is steadily spreading northward. The discovery of potato psyllids in southern Idaho carrying the bacterium that causes zebra chip—Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum—in 2011 and again in 2012 confirms that the disease has now reached North America’s largest potato production area. Read more.
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