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Oregon Researchers Prime Potatoes with Thiamin to Control for Potato Virus Y (PVY)

Volume 6 Issue 5

Chris Benedict (


Researchers at Oregon State University tested thiamin, a water-soluble B vitamin (vitamin B1), to see if foliar applications could boost a potato plant’s immunity to PVY. Thiamin has shown to boost a plants immunity to several diseases in such crops as grapes, rice, tobacco, cucumber, barley, and pea. It has not been tested in potatoes previously or for management of PVY. Priming is the enhanced capacity to express defense mechanisms and is initiated through the application of defense activators (in this example thiamin).

In addition to five different concentrations, the researchers wanted to also see if multiple (two or four) applications would improve the efficacy. This was based on previous research that utilized the plant Arabidopsis and found that thiamin-triggered immunity lasted about fourteen days. Ranger Russet was utilized as the variety in the study and the strain PVY N:O was mechanically inoculated onto screen house grown plants after application of thiamin. Researchers also sampled leaflets from various positions within the canopy.

The researchers concluded the following:

  • Thiamin had a significant effect on PVYN:O virus levels within potato plants.
  • The lowest relative virus level was found in plants treated with the highest concentration of thiamine regardless of the number of applications.
  • Two applications at the highest concentration had relative low PVYN:O levels and were similar to plants not inoculated with PVYN:O.
  • Thiamin applications did not impact foliar symptoms, but did delay their appearance.
  • Plants treated with the highest concentration and the highest frequency of applications began showing severe scorching symptoms.
  • Leaflet sampling across canopy levels found that PVYN:O did not accumulate in mature leaves, but instead was transported to young leaves.
  • The authors of this paper suggest that thiamin applied at the highest concentration impacts entry and transport of PVYN:O.

These findings were recently published in the American Journal of Potato Research. The citation for this publication is as follows:

Vinchesi, Amber C., Silvia I. Rondon, and Aymeric Goyer. “Priming Potato with Thiamin to Control Potato Virus Y.” American Journal of Potato Research 94, no. 2 (April 1, 2017): 120–28. doi:10.1007/s12230-016-9552-2.