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PhD project opportunity: 'Optimizing yield and quality by predicting vitality of seed potatoes'

Wageningen UR (University & Research Centre) in the Netherlands has an opening for an interested and qualified PhD candidate to complete aproject focused on the vitality of potato seed. In principle this is a 48-month PhD position. The University offers a temporary contract for 12 months which will be extended with three years if the successful candidate performs well.

Physiological quality of seed potato tubers is crucial for the performance of the subsequent crop, the University says. It involves dormancy and physiological age; both are influenced by conditions during tuber growth, during the phase between haulm killing and storage, during storage and between storage and planting.

Using modern cultivars and contrasting storage treatments, the project will include studies on the impact of storage temperature on the development of the growth vigour of seed tubers and (in close collaboration with breeding and processing companies) field investigations on the impact of different levels of physiological age on crop performance.

The final aim is to create improved protocols and decision support systems for seed potato production, seed storage and management of crops grown from this seed and for different outlets.

Wageningen Research will collaborate in the project by analysing tuber samples collected during storage for changes in metabolomics thus supporting the development of a tool that reliably assesses physiological age and predicts its subsequent development for use in decision support systems.

The PhD candidate will carry out the following activities:

  1. Analysing changes in growth vigour of seed tubers during storage of contrasting cultivars and linking those changes to changes in metabolomic profiles.
  2. Analysing crop performance from seed tubers of different physiological age.
  3. Modelling the development of physiological age of seed tubers from tuber initiation through production and storage until planting.
  4. Modelling crop performance as influenced by physiological age of the seed tubers.

More information available here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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