In three counties – Hajdú-Bihar, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok and Zala – the presence of the destructive plant pathogen Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum bacteria was confirmed in samples taken by the National Food Chain Safety Office (Nébih) in September 2022, the organization announced on its website.
According to the announcement, the bacterium is classified as a “short-circuit pest”, and its presence can cause significant economic damage, as its spread can only be ensured by appropriate phytosanitary measures, as there is currently no chemical antidote.
According to Nébih, in addition to potatoes, tomatoes, egg fruits, and roses, ornamental plants can also be host plants.
The primary starting point for the spread of the bacterium is the infected propagating material, but the bacterial species can also spread through irrigation water of surface origin, the source of which is bitter gorse (Solanum dulcamara). The infectiousness of the plant-pathogenic bacterium remains permanent, and even contact with machinery can result in further infections, they wrote.
Nébih warned that the infection could cause a complete crop loss and that the cultivation of host plants in the infected area must be suspended for years.
In the absence of chemical control, Nébih recommends the use of preventive phytosanitary measures to farmers, to use only laboratory-tested, healthy propagating materials and disinfect work tools. Following and the cultivation of ryegrass or other grasses are also recommended in crop rotation, as well as the eradication of orphan sprouts.