American Journal of Potato Research

, Volume 96, Issue 6, pp 532–540 | Cite as

Seasonal Dynamics of Alternaria during the Potato Growing Cycle and the Influence of Weather on the Early Blight Disease in North-West Spain

  • Olga Escuredo
  • Ana Seijo-Rodríguez
  • Laura Meno
  • María Shantal Rodríguez-Flores
  • María Carmen SeijoEmail author


Early blight caused mainly by Alternaria solani Soraeur and Alternaria alternata (Fr.) Keissl is one of the main diseases of potato. To improve forecasting of disease risk and to provide useful tools for a good decision support system, knowledge about the influence of environmental conditions on the Alternaria species, is necessary. The pattern distribution of the Alternaria spores during eight potato growing cycles in “A Limia” (north-west Spain), and the relationships between Alternaria levels and meteorological parameters were analyzed. Also, the phenology of the potato plants and the meteorological conditions during the study were monitored. Higher Alternaria peaks were found during plant senescence. Nevertheless, extremely high levels can appear starting the plant flowering, when the disease is more destructive. Statistical analysis showed a close relationship between temperature and relative humidity with the concentration of Alternaria in the air. Higher Alternaria levels were observed with a mean temperature above 20 °C and a mean relative humidity below 70%. It is also important to highlight that lower temperature and higher relative humidity during the night, favours the formation of Alternaria spores during the day. The present study showed how differences in weather can be related with the presence of Alternaria spores in the atmosphere of potato crop, and how climate change could affect the development of this agricultural crop. If Spain continues to experience increases in temperature events, longer duration and increasing intensity of early blight epidemics in potato crops are expected in future years.


Potato Growing season Temperature Early blight Climatic trend 


El tizón temprano, causado por Alternaria solani Soraeur y Alternaria alternata (Fr.) Keissl, es una de las principales enfermedades de la patata. Para mejorar la previsión del riesgo de la enfermedad y para proporcionar herramientas útiles para un buen sistema de toma de decisiones es necesario el conocimiento de la influencia de las condiciones ambientales en el desarrollo de Alternaria. Se analizó el patrón de distribución de las esporas de Alternaria durante ocho ciclos de cultivo de la patata en “A Limia” (noroeste de España), y las relaciones entre los niveles de Alternaria y los parámetros meteorológicos. También se monitorearon la fenología de las plantas de py las condiciones meteorológicas durante el estudio. Se encontraron altos picos de Alternaria durante la senectud de la planta. No obstante, pueden aparecer niveles extremadamente altos empezando la floración, cuando la enfermedad es más destructiva. Los análisis estadísticos mostraron una relación estrecha entre temperatura y humedad relativa con la concentración de Alternaria en el aire. Se observaron niveles más altos de Alternaria con una temperatura media con una temperatura media superior a los 20 °C y una media de humedad relativa Inferior al del 70%. También es importante resaltar que temperatura más baja y humedad relativa más alta durante la noche, favorecen la formación de esporas de Alternaria durante el día. El presente estudio mostró como las diferencias en el clima pudieran estar relacionadas con la presencia de las esporas de Alternaria en la atmosfera del cultivo de la patata, y como el cambio climático puede afectar al desarrollo de este cultivo agrícola. Si España continúa experimentando eventos de incremento de la temperatura, se espera en el futuro una mayor duración e intensidad de las epidemias de tizón temprano en cultivos de patata.



The authors wish to thank the collaboration of Xunta de Galicia (Rural Development Programme 2014/2020- FEADER 2017/045B) for the financial supporting.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interests



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Copyright information

© The Potato Association of America 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga Escuredo
    • 1
  • Ana Seijo-Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Laura Meno
    • 1
  • María Shantal Rodríguez-Flores
    • 1
  • María Carmen Seijo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Vegetal Biology and Soil Science, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of VigoOurenseSpain

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