Zebra chip changes the way potato tubers store starchers and sugars.
Zebra chip changes the way potato tubers store starchers and sugars.

A research team has been recognized by the Entomological Foundation for its efforts to help growers manage zebra chip and the potato psyllid that spreads it.

The group will receive the Integrated Pest Management Team Award, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, at the Nov. 12 Entomological Society of America meeting in Knoxville, Tenn., according to a news release.

The multi-state Zebra Chip Research Team was formed in 2008 in response to the newly identified pest complex.

Zebra chip, caused by the  Liberibacter solanacearum bacterium, changes the way potato tubers store starches and sugars.

When the potatoes are cooked at high temperatures, such as during frying, the sugars caramelize, forming dark stripes.

Potato psyllids pick up the bacterium when they feed on infected plants and spread it to healthy plants.

The research team determined the movement of psyllids within and into potato fields and developed a sampling program that enabled potato growers to choose the level of risk they would accept.

The sampling program also took into account pesticide efficacy and biological control agents.

The information was disseminated through websites, grower Extension and scientific meetings, and newsletters.

Team members included:

• John Trumble, an entomologist with the University of California, Riverside;

• Charlie Rush, an epidemiologist at Texas A&M University, Amarillo;

• Neil Gutmestad, a plant pathologist at North Dakota State University, Fargo;

• Gerhard Bester of Frito Lay; Plano, Texas;

• Casey Butler of Syngenta Crop Protection, Greensboro, N.C.;

• Jon Goolsby, an entomologist at USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Edinburgh, Texas;

• Don Henne, a horticultural scientist at Texas Agrilife Research, Weslaco; and

• Fekede Workneh, a plant pathologist at Texas Agrilife Research, Bushland.