SRT belongs to a consortium, NASPA, that is an INTERREG Atlantic EU project, with academic and industrial partners in Wales, Ireland, W. France, SW Spain, Portugal and Canary Is. NASPA aims to make use of seaweeds and plants from the Atlantic Area to provide extracts that help to control stress and diseases of crops or promote crop yield or quality. If successful the project will provide safe substances to replace toxic ones (like copper) which are widely used to control plant diseases.
The project is led by the BioComposites Centre, Bangor University. We are examining a range of extracts for activity in controlling late-blight disease of potato and tomato. We have developed lab-based tests with detached leaves. These tests indicate extracts with activity which are then sprayed on potted plants of potato and tomato. Spores or Phytophthora infestans are then sprayed on the plant and the development of blight on the foliage is then monitored. Promising extracts in these assays are used in replicated field trials where extracts are sprayed on plots of blight susceptible potatoes; wild blight is likely to spread through the trial but may be assisted if the spread is not uniform throughout the trial area.
The 4th meeting of the NASPA consortium was hosted by Vegenov in St Pol de Leon, Brittany, France in July, 2019. Vegenov and its sister experimental horticultural research and development station, CATE, work on a range of vegetable, fruit and ornamentals including artichokes, brassicas and alliums.