Unveiling the Pathogenic and Beneficial Fungi in Potato Farming of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan

Riaz Ahmad, Aqleem Abbas, Saleem Shahzad, Masum Haider


Plant pathogenic fungi pose a significant threat to potato crops worldwide, resulting in substantial yield losses. However, certain fungi, such as Trichoderma spp., have exhibited beneficial properties by protecting potato crops against these pathogenic counterparts. In Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Pakistan, potato cultivation serves as a vital cash crop and primary source of income. Despite the importance of the crop, systematic studies on pathogenic and beneficial fungi associated with potatoes in GB remain limited. Existing research mainly relies on symptom-based reports, lacking sufficient insights into disease severity and incidence. Furthermore, the recent impact of climatic factors, including heavy and unseasonal rainfall and warmer winter temperatures, has further exacerbated these diseases. Therefore, this study aims to investigate plant pathogenic fungi in three districts of GB: Gilgit, Hunza, and Nagar. Soil samples from the rhizosphere of potato plants were collected, and fungi were isolated using serial dilution, plating, and baiting techniques. Subsequently, fungal morphology was examined using microscopy, and identification was performed using standard keys and monographs. Additionally, the synonymy of the isolated pathogenic fungi was determined. The analysis revealed the presence of eight fungi across all three districts, including Aspergillus flavus, A. nidulans, A. niger, A. terreus, Penicillium citrinum, Rhizopus stolonifer, and Trichoderma gamsii. P. chrysogenum was detected in Gilgit and Nagar districts, while T. aureoviride was identified in Gilgit and Hunza. This comprehensive research sheds light on the incidence and coexistence of beneficial and harmful fungi in potato-growing areas, enhancing our understanding of the factors influencing potato cultivation in GB.


Isolation; identification; potatoes; fungi; Gilgit Baltistan

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DOI (PDF): https://doi.org/10.33804/pp.007.02.4741


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