Potato Pathology

The Potato Pathology team at SASA carries out testing and research to support the Scottish potato industry. We work closely with Scottish growers to maintain the high health status of Scottish seed potatoes. Annual health monitoring of stock from all Scottish PBTC growers helps to ensure optimal quality at the very start of the multiplication process. 


We carry out research to support the potato industry. Recent research has included identifying the causes of pit rot  and research in collaboration with growers and AHDB to find environmentally-friendly alternatives to peat that do not compromise the health or productivity of PBTC production.


We provide training to Scottish Government Agricultural Officers in identification of potato diseases, pests and disorders. We also support their work with scientific advice and laboratory diagnosis of tuber and field samples. Training courses in Identification of Potato Diseases and Inspection Procedures are held annually for trade delegates (in association with the British Potato Trades Association). Please contact Dr Rosalind McHugh or call 0131 244 8931 for further information about training courses.

Potato Disease Testing

SASA has expertise in testing potato tubers for a range of fungal blemish diseases and rots. We provide a commercial testing service, prices start at £70 for identification of specific pathogens, such as those listed below (we recommend that you send at least 5 -10 tubers if possible) and can also provide other, bespoke, services including disease severity assessments.

Surface Diseases Rot Diseases
Helminthosporium solani (silver scurf)
Polyscytalum pustulans (skin spot)
Rhizoctonia solani (black scurf)
Spongospora subterranea (powdery scab)
Streptomyces scabies (common scab)
Alternaria spp. (early blight)
Botrytis cinerea (wet rot)
Cylindrocarpon destructans
Fusarium coeruleum (dry rot)
Fusarium avenaceum (dry rot)
Fusarium sulphureum (powdery dry rot)
Phoma foveata (gangrene)
Phoma exigua
Phoma eupyrena
Phytophthora erythroseptica (pink rot)
Phytophthora infestans (late blight)
Pythium ultimum (watery wound rot)










Please complete the [Diagnosis Request Form], should you require our services. For further information, or to discuss bespoke pathology services, please contact potpath@sasa.gov.scot or call Dr Rosalind McHugh (0131 244 8931).