Gerry Saddler has 25 years of experience as a plant pathologist and is Deputy Head of Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), a division of the Scottish government. He has worked on the characterization and management of bacterial diseases of potato throughout his career (specifically, brown rot, ring rot, and blackleg) and has more than 70 scientific publications to his name. He heads up the Scottish seed potato classification scheme, where blackleg continues to be a major concern, as it is the biggest single cause of seed downgrading in the country. Gerry and his colleagues are investigating how crops become initially infected and how environmental factors and industry practices may impact disease severity. Although blackleg in Europe can be caused by a number of
Pectobacterium species, Gerry and colleagues, with strong support from the industry, have successfully managed to keep
Dickeya out of their production system.