Potatoes are prone to disease, such as the late blight fungus which is responsible for billions of dollars of annual losses. Keeping disease at bay requires a steady supply of fungicide, which can harm human health and the environment.
The issue is particularly pressing on Prince Edward Island, which produces about one-quarter of Canada’s potatoes. The very characteristics that make the island great for growing potatoes – its sandy soil, streams and rolling hills -also make it vulnerable to chemicals leaching into the earth. Environmentalists on the island have called for a complete phase-out of the Russet Burbank, which would be a hard sell considering its commercial success.
But there may be a GMO solution. Read more