Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Double trouble: Co-infection of potato with the causal agents of late and early blight

Brouwer, Sophie M.; Wolters, Pieter J.; Andreasson, Erik; Liljeroth, Erland; Vleeshouwers, Vivianne G. A. A.; Grenville-Briggs, Laura J.


Global potato production is plagued by multiple pathogens, amongst which are Phytophthora infestans and Alternaria solani, the causal agents of potato late blight and early blight, respectively. Both these pathogens have different lifestyles and are successful pathogens of potato, but despite observations of both pathogens infecting potato simultaneously in field conditions, the tripartite interactions between potato and these two pathogens are so far poorly understood. Here we studied the interaction of A. solani and P. infestans first in vitro and subsequently in planta both in laboratory and field settings. We found that A. solani can inhibit P. infestans in terms of growth in vitro and also infection of potato in both laboratory experiments and in an agriculturally relevant field setting. A. solani had a direct inhibitory effect on P. infestans in vitro and compounds secreted by A. solani had both an inhibitory and disruptive effect on sporangia and mycelium of P. infestans in vitro. In planta infection bioassays revealed that simultaneous co-inoculation of both pathogens resulted in larger necrotic lesions than single inoculations; however, consecutive inoculations only resulted in larger lesions when A. solani was inoculated after P. infestans. These results indicate that the order in which these pathogens attempt to colonize potato is important for the disease outcome and that the influence of plant pathogens on each other should be accounted for in the design of future disease control strategies in crops such as potato.


Alternaria solani; early blight; field; late blight; Phytophthora infestans; tripartite interactions

Published in

Plant Pathology
2023, Volume: 72, number: 8, pages: 1365-1379
Publisher: WILEY