Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) and the future of potato production in Scotland – Working Group

Project Lead: Ian Toth
Host Institution: The James Hutton Institute
Project Date: 3 August 2020 to 31 December 2020
Reference Number:
The potato industry in Scotland employs over 2000 people and is worth £250 million to the economy. However, the industry is under serious threat from Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN). PCN comprises two closely related species, Globodera rostochiensis and Globodera pallida, both of which are present in Scotland and, in recent years, the incidence of G. pallida has increased markedly. The use of commercial varieties with resistance to G. rostochiensis have largely halted its spread but there are few varieties with resistance to G. pallida. Statutory testing data collected by SASA shows that the area of land recorded as infested with G. pallida is doubling every 7–8 years and now accounts for nearly 70% of findings. SASA estimates that over 13% of land for growing potatoes is infested with PCN with an estimated increase in spread of 5% per year.

Following a Ministerial round table meeting on PCN in June 2020, the PHC were asked by the OCPHOS to form a working group to identify a clear strategy for dealing with the PCN crisis.
Centre Director
Institution: The James Hutton Institute