Jamaica: JSIF allocates $19 million to boost production of potato seedlings

Jamaica’s capacity to produce clean Irish potato seedlings has been enhanced with a $19-million allocation from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF). Under the programme, the money spent annually to import 90 per cent of Irish potato seeds into the island will be cut significantly, while the availability of first-generation seeds will be guaranteed throughout the year. Delivering the keynote address at[Read More…]

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Four scientists win a prize for aiding health, nutrition

Four scientists — three of them in Africa — have won US$250,000 for combined success in improving nutrition and health through combating vitamin A deficiency in vulnerable populations. Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, announced last month (28 June), that the 2016 World Food Prize will be awarded to them. The award indicates the need for investing in agricultural[Read More…]

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International Potato Center publishes 2015 report

The International Potato Center (CIP) has published its annual report for 2015. According to Barbara H. Wells, Director General of the CIP, 2015 saw an alignment between the goals of the organisation with the United Nations General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The annual report tells the story of CIP’s alignment with the SDGs and the impact they have had[Read More…]

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The environmental benefits of potato breeding

On World Environment Day (June 5), potato breeding company HZPC highlighted the benefits of breeding on yield, carbon footprint and water use. An extra 10 million tons of potatoes every year are grown by EU farmers thanks to potato breeding over the past 15 years. That’s more than the annual potato output of the whole of Poland, and means the EU[Read More…]

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Brazil: Progress in potato cultivar development by Embrapa and partners

Potatoes are grown in different regions in Brazil, between 31°S and 13°S latitude and between 19m and 1360m altitude. In 2015, the total growing area was about 127,000 ha with an average yield of 28.7 tha. Close to 90% of this area is planted with foreign cultivars, which lack adaptation to the country’s ecological conditions and culinary quality to meet[Read More…]

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US: Purple potatoes a new superfood?

Researchers at Colorado State University have recently developed purple potato varieties which can satisfy nutritional needs and could potentially act as a preventive measure to several diseases. The research team works with the CSU Potato Program and is composed of David G. Holm, a professor and potato breeder; Sastry S. Jayanty, a post-harvest physiologist; and Diganta Kalita, a postdoctoral researcher at[Read More…]

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Purple Magic potato developed in Northern Ireland reaches finals of INVENT 2016

Purple Magic, a new breed of Northern Ireland potato with high anthocyanin content, was invented by Paul Watts at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Loughgall. Paul has used innovative scientific methods to boost disease resistance and tolerance to stress within the potato breeding programme over the last 30 years. More recently, Paul invented a novel potato variety that would appeal[Read More…]

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UK: GMO potato approved for field trials

The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norfolk has been given the green light by Defra to conduct a series of GM potato field trials. The laboratory will conduct field trials of GM potato crops on a designated trial site at the Norwich Research Park between 2016 and 2019. The trials are part of a project to develop a Maris Piper potato that is blight[Read More…]

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Battling against crop pests thanks to genetics

Three research groups have recently reported on advances with crop diseases resistance. These related to detecting novel disease resistance genes and the successful transfer of resistance into wheat, soybean, and potato. The work, in each case, was supported by the 2Blades Foundation. The organization has a remit to discover, advance and deliver genetic improvements in crop disease resistance. The work is of[Read More…]

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CIP, HZPC and Syngenta Foundation partnership established to improve South Asia’s potatoes

A new partnership has been formed which aims to develop better potatoes for tropical and subtropical conditions. The International Potato Center (CIP), global seed potato company HZPC and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) will combine their resources to breed potato varieties suitable for South Asia markets. The organisations will combine their experience and resources to breed and select potato[Read More…]

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Researchers develop nutrient-rich purple potato

Purple potatoes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when trying to increase vitamin, mineral and antioxidant intake. However, a group of researchers from Colorado State University (CSU) have recently developed potato varieties that satisfy these nutritional needs and could act as a preventive measure to several diseases. The research team works with the CSU Potato Program and is[Read More…]

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US: Potato clones for the future planted in North Dakota

Chips, French fries, the fresh market and even specialty markets like low-glycemic – potatoes in this year’s breeding trial at NDSU could eventually make the grade for many kinds of markets. Potato clones in the NDSU trial were planted May 2. Out in the fields at NDSU’s Williston Research Extension Center’s Nesson Valley, Asunta (Susie) Thompson, NDSU potato breeder and associate[Read More…]

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UK: GM potato field trials get the go-ahead

Defra has given the green light for a series of GM potato field trials by the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norfolk. The laboratory will conduct field trials of GM potato crops on a designated trial site at the Norwich Research Park between 2016 and 2019. The trials are part of a project to develop a Maris Piper potato that is blight and nematode resistant,[Read More…]

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Experts link up to improve South Asia’s potatoes

The International Potato Center (CIP), global seed potato company HZPC and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) have announced a new partnership. Their joint aim is to develop better potatoes for tropical and subtropical conditions. CIP and HZPC will combine their experience and resources to breed and select potato varieties suitable for local markets in South Asia. SFSA will provide[Read More…]

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Potato breeding update from Cornell University

Walter De Jong, Associate Professor at Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Sciences, Plant Breeding and Genetics Section, has been researching potatoes at Cornell for more than 15 years. Potatoes have been bred at Cornell for at least 50 years, De Jong says, and 70% of the university’s breeding efforts are focused on developing new chip varieties, while 30% is[Read More…]

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Canada: Inside Prince Edward Island’s brewing battle over an environmentally friendly GMO spud

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[Read More…]

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Turkey registers 3 new potato varieties to eliminate dependence on foreign seed

Nigde Potato Research Institute has registered 3 new varieties of potato. The new varieties have been named ‘Nahita’, ‘Unlenen’ and ‘Nam’. Ugur Pirlak, the manager of the institute, said they registered the first species of native potatoes in April last year, “We are carrying out a project to eliminate the dependence on foreign seed potatoes,” he said. Pirlak underlined the importance of[Read More…]

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UK: A new purple potato has been developed in the North that may fight cancer

Researchers in the North have developed a purple potato in the hope that it will have anti-cancer properties. The spud, known as Purple Magic, was developed by the AFBI (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute) in Loughgall, Co Armagh, in response to research into the beneficial effects of Anthocyanins (the coloured pigments) which are a class of compounds with antioxidant. The link is still[Read More…]

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These new GM crops will change how we farm

Three of the world’s most troubling crop diseases were just hit with three new disease-resistant crops varieties, thanks to genetic modification-each with a slightly different mechanism. The details of these modifications appear in three new papers out today in Nature Biotechnology.  The last paper deals with late potato blight, the disease blamed for Ireland’s famine in the 1800s. For that[Read More…]

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Canada: In praise of the Yukon Gold potato

Fifty years ago the Yukon Gold potato was invented. One man is on a mission to make sure the world knows it and celebrates this Canadian success story. On Barack Obama’s table at holiday feasts; on Justin Trudeau’s plate at his White House state dinner; and on the Oscar gala hors-d’oeuvres trays, was a small yellow potato called the Yukon Gold.[Read More…]

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Canada: GMO potato company fires back

The company responsible for creating a genetically engineered potato has taken issue with comments made by Earth Action Prince Edward Island in a recent Guardian article. Earth Action leader Sharon Labchuk said in that article that genetically modified products are unsafe. But Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications at J.R. Simplot, the Idaho-based company that developed the potato, disagrees.[Read More…]

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Research: Wild potato genes require less chemicals

When genetically modifying potatoes with genes from wild potato varieties to develop Phytophthora-resistant plants, researchers from Holland’s Wageningen University also developed plants requiring 80 percent less chemical control than conventional potatoes. Farmers who can afford to do so spray their potato crops against the Phytophthora infestans pathogen with chemicals up to 15 times a year. Farmers without the means for[Read More…]

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Genetically engineered potato approved for sale in Canada

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have approved a genetically engineered potato for sale, said a U.S. based company. The non-browning spuds could be in Canadian supermarkets by Thanksgiving. J.R. Simplot Company was notified by both agencies in letters dated March 18, 2016 that it could sell its potatoes to consumers or for livestock consumption. Supposedly, the potatoes[Read More…]

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Canada: More to potato varieties than just colour

Hoping to follow in the footsteps of the apple industry, where consumers are much more brand focused and recognise apples by variety and not just by colour, Canadian potato company EarthFreshFoods has been trialing a project called ‘Potatoes of the World’ at Sobey’s and Longos (Ontario) and is hoping to show consumers that there is more to a variety than[Read More…]

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Texas A&M University looking for Assistant/Associate Professor, Potato Breeding and Genetics

The Department of Horticultural Sciences seeks applicants for a tenure-track faculty position from individuals with expertise in potato breeding and genetics. The successful applicant will advance an outstanding program that has a proven track record of developing regionally- and nationally-adapted potato varieties and contributing to the knowledge base of potato breeding, genetics, and marker-assisted selection. The successful applicant will contribute[Read More…]

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