Effectiveness of Positive Selection in Managing Seed-Borne Potato Viruses

  •  Gidraf Okeyo    
  •  Kalpana Sharma    
  •  Elly Atieno    
  •  Rama Devi Narla    
  •  Douglas Watuku Miano    
  •  Elmar Schulte-Geldermann    


Potato productivity in Kenya has remained below the potential due to the use of infected seed tubers especially by seed borne viruses. A study was carried out to asses the effectiveness of Positive Selection (PS) in managing seed borne potato viruses. Sprouted seed potato tubers of nine genotypes; three commercial varieties and six advanced International Potato Center (CIP) clones were screened in the field for two seasons, Field Generation Three (FG3) and Field Generation Four (FG4), respectively. In each season, experimental plots were divided into two sub-plots in which one sub-plot was planted with seed tubers sourced through Random Seed Selection (RSS) and the other with seed tuber sourced through Positive Selection (PS). Positive selection plots had low visual virus incidences, high number of tubers per hill and yield (t/ha) in both FG3 and FG4 growing seasons irrespective of the genotypes. ELISA test also revealed that Potato Virus S (PVS) (78%) was the most predominant virus followed by Potato Virus Y (PVY) (20%), Potato Leaf Roll Virus (PLRV) (16%) and Potato Virus M (PVM) (9%) in RSS plots either with single or multiple infections. Positive Selection plots recorded low virus incidences of PVS (47%), and PVY, PLRV and PVM were absent in the tubers tested with ELISA. This study concludes that Positive Selection is a good management strategy to manage the seed borne potato viruses, and if adopted, small holder farmers can reduce the yield losses arising from use of virus infected seed tubers.

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