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Zebra Chip disease
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Zebra Chip disease

Zebra chip disease is named after the dark stripes it forms inside afflicted potato tubers when cut and fried to make chips.

Zebra chip has caused millions of dollars in production and processing losses since its first reported U.S. occurrence in potato fields near McAllen and Pearsall, Texas, in 2000.

The disease, whose above-ground symptoms include necrosis and purplish, upward-curling leaves, among others, has since been reported in several other states (California, Nevada, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho), Mexico, parts of Central America, and New Zealand.

(Click to enlarge)

Potato Tubers affected by Zebra chip disease

The disease is caused by a bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, while it is transmitted from plant to plant by potato psyllids, Bactericera cockerelli.

As of 2017 the potato psyllids responsible for the transfer of the zebrachip disease have been observed in Western Australia, but no Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum has been detected so far.

In the Mediterranean, Liberibacter is present, but no psyllids seem to be present that effectively spread the bacterium to potatoes.