Breeding

Israeli company secures funding for technology to express egg protein in potatoes

The funding will support PoLoPo’s technology platform, starting with replicating ovalbumin, the protein found in egg white. The company says it expects to have prototypes in the coming 18 months, including protein-rich potato tubers and ovalbumin functional samples. PoLoPo says its ovalbumin will be identical to chicken egg ovalbumin in terms of functionality, nutritional value, and protein sequence.

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PepsiCo brings hybrid potato seed to Ethiopia

Senselet Food Processing PLC (Senselet), PepsiCo’s Ethiopia-based foods unit, has teamed up with Dutch hybrid potato innovator Solynta to bring hybrid true potato seeds (HTPS) to Ethiopia, as Zachary Sosland reports for Baking Business. PepsiCo already has invested $40 million in Ethiopian potato chip production, and this new partnership makes it the leading Ethiopian potato processing company.

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HZPC awarded Royal predicate on 125th anniversary: A recognition of its impact on the international potato industry

On Monday 27 February 2023, potato breeder HZPC celebrated its 125th anniversary. For HZPC, this was a day with an extra golden edge. Dr. A.A.M. Brok, Commissioner of the King of the Province of Friesland, also presented HZPC with the certificate for the predicate “Royal” on Monday afternoon in Joure. With the predicate Royal, HZPC has now become “Royal HZPC Group”, including the subsidiaries STET, HZPC, and ZOS.

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From pipeline to commercialization: The National Chip Program’s impact on potato breeding

The National Potato Council (NCP) in the U.S. aims to improve potato chipping varieties in the pipeline toward commercialization and has brought more collaboration among potato growers and breeders in different regions. The program also helps enhance the trial process through reduced development time and increased candidates’ strength, Potatoes USA says in its February 2023 newsletter.

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Solynta and FreshCrop sign hybrid potato collaboration agreement in Kenya

Solynta, hybrid potato breeding technology company from The Netherlands and FreshCrop Limited, Kenya’s largest producer of seed tubers, have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of hybrid true potato innovation in Kenya. By joining forces, the companies will work closely to facilitate future introduction of high quality hybrid potato seed tubers produced from hybrid true potato seeds.

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‘Johnny Potato Seed’: This farmer wants you to grow a new potato strain

Also known as ‘Johnny Potato Seed’, this small farmer turned a plot of land in Wisconsin into the epicenter of an international potato breeding movement, writes Bevin Cohen in a news article for Modern Farmer. Caravati founded the Kenosha Potato Project (KPP) in 2007. KPP quickly grew into an online community of thousands of both novice and experienced potato growers from around the world.

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Blight resistant potatoes: Marketing ploy or real?

This article was written by Amy Skea of Potato House. “As with any industry, research and development is key, and the UK seed potato industry is no exception and is always progressing.  We at Skea Organics and Potato House are proud to be involved in this, and this year we hosted some organic potato demonstrations  with several of the leading names in the industry involved.”

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Harnessing the power of wild potatoes to feed a climate-challenged world, while reducing agrochemical use

Scientists in South America are tapping the power of wild potatoes to breed disease-resistant and resilient varieties. The recent release of the International Potato Center’s (CIP) disease-resistant CIP-Matilde variety in Peru is the result of years of work and investment in conserving and studying potato wild relatives and using them to breed potatoes that combine characteristics that consumers want with the wild potatoes’ ability to cope with diseases and climate extremes.

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Video: CIP – Innovations towards sustainable agri-food system transformation

For almost 50 years, the International Potato Center’s (CIP) research and development work in potato and sweetpotato agri-food systems has contributed to greater food and nutrition security, and economic growth, while conserving today’s biodiversity for the future. This video brings together some of the most achievements and impacts for millions of small-scale farmers and resource-poor consumers worldwide.

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ADAPT: Field trials conducted in Austria to find stress-tolerant potato varieties

The Horizon 2020 EU project Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT) aims at developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. A total of 16 varieties were selected for trials in Austria with a focus on representing abiotic stress resistance. Eleven varieties obtained from potato breeders involved in ADAPT, namely HZPC, Solana, Meijer and NOES, are also being tested for drought and heat tolerance in Spain and the Netherlands.

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Solynta and RegenZ partner to bring hybrid potatoes to South Africa

South African seed potato producer RegenZ and European hybrid potato seed innovator Solynta announced today a partnership to bring hybrid true potatoes to the South African farming community. The companies will collaborate in further trials and join forces to facilitate the introduction of Solynta’s ‘climate smart’ and disease-free genetics to the South African farmer.

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HZPC’s Potato Days 2022: ‘No time to waste’ to ensure future-proof potato production

On 9, 10 and 11 November, HZPC will open its doors in Joure – and online – to anyone with a passion for potatoes. During Potato Days 2022, the company will discuss the challenges of food security and sustainability, now and in the future. And invited guests will further discuss how everyone involved in the global potato industry can make an important contribution together. HZPC will introduce visitors and online participants to its most promising varieties and innovations

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APHIS gives green light to new Simplot GMO potato variety

A new modified corn and potato variety have been given the green light by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The potato plant from J.R. Simplot Company was modified to make it resistant to potato late blight and potato virus Y. It was also modified to alter the potato tuber sugar profile and quality.

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Coming soon, the not-so-humble potato with more vitamin C than a lemon

Potatoes with as much vitamin C as a lemon could be grown and sold in England within five years using “game-changing” gene-editing technology, scientists have predicted. Researchers at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee could double the amount of vitamin C in a new strain of potato by snipping out sections of its DNA, as Max Stephens reports for The Telegraph.

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Climate change: Specialist warns of future ‘existential threat’ to the British potato industry

The humble potato may struggle to grow in the UK in years to come due to climate change, researchers have warned. The James Hutton Institute (JHI) at Invergowrie, just outside Dundee, is now trying to find varieties that will grow in warmer conditions. Prof Lesley Torrance, the JHI research organisation’s executive director of science, warned that climate change posed an “existential threat” to the potato industry.

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Hot potato! Canadian research into heat-tolerant potatoes builds on award-winning study

Helping producers find potato varieties that are more resistant to the potential disruption to growth caused by extreme heat is critical for ensuring the sustainability and profitability of potato production in Canada. Recognizing this need, Dr. Xiu-Qing Li, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist has been studying heat-stress in potatoes for years, leading to a number of breakthroughs in recent years.

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USDA approves Toolgen’s reduced-browning GMO potato

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently posted two Regulatory Status Review (RSR) responses under the revised biotechnology regulations at 7 CFR part 340. According to a news release, APHIS reviewed a modified potato from Toolgen, Inc. This potato was modified using genetic engineering to alter tuber quality by reducing browning after cutting or peeling.

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Microbiome project: Tools to optimize potato microbiome could reduce the use of agrochemicals

A project aimed at developing new tools to predict and optimize potato plant growth by mapping the microorganisms living on seed potatoes has been awarded 940.000 Euro in funding. A promising strategy to reduce the use of these agrochemicals, is to optimize the composition of beneficial microorganisms living on the plant. These microorganisms support growth and strength, creating a natural defense mechanism for potato plants.

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Tissue culture tech boosts Kenya’s potato yields

A community project that provides farmers with healthy potato seeds, cultivated using innovative laboratory techniques is significantly increasing yields in Kenya, an agricultural expert says. Kenya’s average potato yield per hectare is around ten tonnes but has the potential to increase to three times that amount with the use of disease-free seed, according to Anthony Kibe, principal investigator of a potato community action research project.

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Univ of Idaho researchers developing nematode resistant potatoes

University of Idaho researchers are introducing genes from a plant in the nightshade family into potatoes, seeking to develop spuds that resist harmful nematodes.  The plant, called ‘litchi tomato’, has natural resistance to several species of cyst and root-knot nematodes.  “That’s an unusual trait to have such broad resistance,” said Allan Caplan, associate professor in U of I’s Department of Plant Sciences who is involved in the project. 

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PepsiCo: Why there is an ongoing legal battle over the potatoes used to make Lay’s chips in India

Farmers’ rights activists say the PepsiCo India court case over its registration of a potato variety used to make its Lay’s potato chips, shows how companies which have registered plant varieties use coercive tactics against farmers to protect their interests. An ongoing court case between PepsiCo India and the petitioner, farmers’ rights activist Kavitha Kuruganti, has highlighted the tensions between plant-breeding corporations and farmers’ rights defenders in developing countries.

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PAA: Maine potato researcher honored internationally for his work

While many have heard of the Caribou Russet variety of potato, many may not know one of the faces behind it’s creation. Brian Bouchard spoke with one of the researchers who is being honored internationally for his work – Greg Porter, Professor of Agronomy for the University of Maine. He said he never intended to become a researcher. Porter received the Honorary Life Membership Award from the Potato Association of America (PAA), the highest award they can bestow.

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Biotech Opinion: ‘Trust, Critical Thinking, and Potatoes’

This op-ed article is by Dave Douches (PhD), professor and Director of the Potato Breeding and Genetics Program and Director of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Graduate Program at Michigan State University, and Project Director of the Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. “As a scientist working in potato breeding for over 40 years, one may wonder why I am talking about trust and critical thinking.”

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Dakota Russet now approved for McDonald’s fries

The most recent potato variety to join the list of approved McDonald’s potato varieties is the Dakota Russet, developed at North Dakota State University by Asunta Thompson, associate professor of plant science and potato breeder. “This is a dream come true,” Thompson said. “Having our russet accepted by McDonald’s for their french fries is the gold standard we all strive for…

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Thwarting the wart: University of Prince Edward Island study seeks wart-resistant potato variety

Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island are beginning their search for a potato variety more resistant to potato wart following a provincial economic loss of 300 million pounds of potatoes. Xiuquan (Xander) Wang, a UPEI associate professor working on the project, said the funding from Genome Atlantic will go toward comparing the genes of different potato varieties.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor & Publisher

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