The European Potato Trade Association (Europatat) is part of an international consortium involved in the research project ADAPT (“Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”). The project aims to develop new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging climatic growth conditions expected in future. It was started in July 2020 and will take place over the next three years with a total budget of 5 million Euro funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
Europatat reports on its website that the project is progressing well following initial plans and currently two stress trials are being conducted, each consisting of 54 potato varieties which have been selected based on previous projects for differential sensitivity to heat and drought stress. The Dutch breeding company HZPC (who is a member of Europatat) is carrying out field trials at an established site in Spain, close to Valencia. This site is characterized by elevated temperatures also during the night, which is a particular important point that is strongly affecting the tuberisation process of the plants and thereby potato yield. At this location researchers will look closer at the effect of combined stresses – heat and drought.
At the same time, the Dutch breeder Meijer (who is also a member of Europatat) will be looking into the performance of the same varieties under drought conditions in a continental climate setting. This trial will be located in Zeeland, the Netherlands, and will be planted at the end of April.
These results will then be complemented by detailed physiological analysis in controlled environmental conditions in glasshouse studies. These are led by the Universities of Erlangen (DE) and Utrecht (NL) and aim at the characterisation of genetic variation in a subset of different potato cultivars (up to 30) in response to heat, drought and waterlogging and a combination thereof.