PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - Late blight - it's one of the most studied diseases in the world, best known for causing potato famine events, dating back to the 1800s. For decades, U.S. farmers have used fungicide spray called chlorothalonil to prevent spreading the disease. The spray's use isn't without risk and has been linked to cancer, that's why officials in Europe are banning its use. Now the U.S. is looking to discontinue its application as well. Steve Johnson, a professor with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, says there's much to be learned about the disease.
"Our neighbors in Canada - has started to address this as well too. Canada has reduced their chlorothalonil applications to three per season," says Steve Johnson, U-Maine Cooperative Extension Professor and Potato Disease Specialist.