How resistant varieties can tackle potato cyst nematode

Potato growers battling potato cyst nematode (PCN) problems are set to benefit from significant breeding efforts into producing fresh varieties resistant to the key nematode species Globodera pallida. Some promising varieties with resistance to this key pest are moving to the end of breeders’ pipelines with the potential to crack a fresh market dominated by a handful of susceptible favourites. While[Read[Read More…]

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Potato Days in the Netherlands: A Canadian perspective

Potato Days is a spectacular event that is held every year in the Emmeloord-Joure areas in the Netherlands. It is a 3-day event, usually the second week in November, when the Dutch potato-breeding companies as well as a few companies from Germany and Denmark, open their doors to showcase new potato varieties. Tuber samples are on display, and there are[Read[Read More…]

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GMOs 101: MSU researchers explain the basics of genetically modified organisms

An online search for “GMO” returns more than 88 million results — a tangled mess of frightening images, dense data, skepticism, insulting comments and conflicting claims and counterclaims. For the average consumer, separating reputable sources from propaganda is tough, if not impossible. What is a genetically modified organism, or GMO? Even the answer to the question can be controversial. At[Read[Read More…]

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Potato fraud in the Netherlands?

Earlier this month, Breeders Trust – an organisation looking after the interest of potato breeders – revealed a major fraud, concerning the switching of at least 200 tons of potatoes meant for consumption, to seed potatoes instead. Seed Company Mts. H. te Luttelgeest  in the Netherlands was reportedly caught red-handed when adding the yield from a lot of consumption potatoes[Read[Read More…]

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Biotech potato breeding project looks to knock out late blight

Potato versus fungus; fungus wins – TKO. Phytophthora infestans is an aggressive foe wiping out entire potato crops each season. The fight against late blight globally is an expensive one, and its purse is hefty, with stakeholders losing billions of dollars each year. Realizing the need to jab at the late blight problem, the Feed the Future Biotechnology Potato Partnership has stepped into the ring[Read[Read More…]

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The Crispr debate: Irish farmers could miss out on gene editing potential, says crop scientist

Gene editing is exciting crop scientists and breeders. It allows the DNA of a crop to be precisely tweaked to improve them. Enthusiasm is mounting around its potential to boost resistance to pests and diseases in crops. Irish farmers, however, could miss out because of a European Court of Justice ruling earlier this summer. Invented by Jennifer Doudna, the power of[Read[Read More…]

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Photo and Video Gallery: As Irish as they come – beautifully coloured heritage potato varieties grown in Ireland

Maria Flynn at Ballymakenny Farm in Ireland is one remarkable lady – and so are the marvelous heritage and specialty potato varieties that she grows at the Farm and are marketed to high end restaurants in Ireland. Beautifully coloured creations, filled with the best nutritional value that only potatoes can offer. Where else to find these but in Ireland? From[Read[Read More…]

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Groundbreaking British potato breeder presented with Potato Industry Award

One of Britain’s most innovative potato breeders was last night presented with the Potato Industry Award, an annual accolade presented each year for the very highest standards in the industry by AHDB. Doug Harley, who heads up Cygnet PB, received the award at the Seed Industry Event in St Andrew’s. Seed sales manager Croft took home the Above and Beyond Award[Read[Read More…]

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Bioimpuls: Dutch potato breeders battling late blight

In 2009 a nationally funded potato breeding project was initiated in the Netherlands with the main goal of supplying the Dutch organic potato sector with new non-GMO potato varieties resistant to the late blight disease. This project became known as Bioimpuls, an alternative to the breeding program at Wageningen University called DuRPh (Durable Resistance against Phytophthora through cisgenic marker-free modification). Under the banner of Bioimpuls,[Read[Read More…]

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HZPC’s Potato Woman of the Year calls potatoes ‘the largest vitamin pills in the world’

Potato company HZPC has named Dr. Marie Rasochová (80) from the Czech Republic as its Potato Woman of the Year 2018. Marie Rasochová is a renowned promotor of potatoes in the Czech Republic. She is well known for promoting potatoes as the largest vitamin pills in the world. She spreads her message on radio, television programmes, in magazine articles, newspaper stories and[Read[Read More…]

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HZPC Americas looking for Tissue Culture Laboratory Supervisor

HZPC Americas Corporation, located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada is the North American seed potato partner of the HZPC Group. HZPC is a world leader in the marketing of seed potatoes for table-potato markets and processing. HZPC has an extensive research and development program as well as localized testing locations, which allows HZPC to[Read[Read More…]

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Agrico showcases new late blight resistant potatoes

“This is my 30th season at Agrico, but I have never experienced something like this.” That is how Jan van Hoogen opened the annual varieties and seedlings presentation at the Agrico Research’s breeding and research station in the Netherlands last week. The Managing Director of Agrico was referring to the driest summer and autumn since 1976. “This is having a[Read[Read More…]

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Scientists discover new virus infecting potatoes

A new species of the genus Potyvirus infecting potatoes was discovered by scientists working at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) in Edinburgh. In a recent scientific paper they are proposing the name “Potato yellow blotch virus” (PYBV) to identify the virus in future. It was discovered in a potato breeding line. Plants infected by the virus show isolated yellow blotches on the leaves.[Read[Read More…]

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New Mexico State University’s research center participates in potato variety study

Approximately 5,000 tractor-trailer loads of potatoes leave the Four Corners region every year. The spuds are headed to dinner tables via retail stores and snack processors. The dinner potatoes are grown by Navajo Agriculture Products Industry, while those headed to potato chip processing are grown by Navajo Mesa Farms, an independent contractor renting NAPI farm land. Located in the middle of[Read[Read More…]

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GMO potato creator now fears its impact on human health

Of all the genetic engineers who have renounced the technology—Arpad Pusztai, Belinda Martineau, Thierry Vrain, John Fagan and Michael Antoniou, among others—Caius Rommens’ story may be the most compelling. Rommens was director of research at Simplot Plant Sciences from 2000 to 2013 where he led development of the company’s genetically engineered Innate potato. But over time, Rommens started to have serious doubts[Read[Read More…]

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Ruling on CRISPR-Cas: Breeding companies locating outside of Europe

Research assignments that are being withdrawn, companies that are deciding to relocate their R&D departments outside Europe — it is gradually becoming clear that the decision by the European Court of Justice to treat CRISPR-Cas as a form of genetic modification is having far-reaching consequences. Including for Wageningen University & Research (WUR). In an indepth article, Albert Sikkema at WUR[Read[Read More…]

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Article sheds light on GM potatoes

In a recently published article by Nat Graham, a doctoral candidate in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri Columbia, the author sheds some light on how genetic modification is being used in potato growing operations across the US. In the extensive article, published by, Graham responds to several typical questions related to genetically modified potatoes. One of[Read[Read More…]

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Ex-Director of J.R. Simplot publishes book on GMO potatoes

The Ex-Director of J.R. Simplot and team leader at Monsanto, Caius Rommens, was interviewed by Sustainable Pulse on the same day that his book ‘Pandora’s Potatoes: The Worst GMOs’ was released on Amazon this week. Rommens previously worked for 26 years as a genetic engineer, saying that he created hundreds of thousands of different GM potato varieties at a direct cost of[Read[Read More…]

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Japan: New crisp lines launched from Calbee Potato’s own potato variety

Our correspondent in Japan, Mariko Kihira reports that Calbee Inc. has launched a new crisp line from a potato variety bred and cultivated by contracted farmers of Calbee Potato Inc. (a company that distributes potatoes, provides agronomy advice to its contracted growers, and also trades and processes some of its potatoes as crisps). Independently from Calbee Inc., it bred its own[Read[Read More…]

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The Potato Whisperer from Peru

Manuel Choqque Bravo, a fourth generation potato farmer in the Andean highlands of Chinchero, is about to perform a magic show. He lines up multiple deformed tubers, indigenous to the area best known for its proximity to Machu Picchu, and one by one slices them in half, revealing a color spectrum of intense violet and gold hues. “People think the potato[Read[Read More…]

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CIP, US supported initiative in Kenya boosts clean potato seed production

International Potato Centre (CIP) research scientists are working with private companies in Kenya – that have facilities for tissue culture technology – to produce rooted apical cuttings to sell to potato seed producers. The use of farm-saved seeds by potato farmers in Kenya, which is the common practice throughout the country, comes with many challenges. “Some of them have bacterial seed-borne[Read[Read More…]

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Dutch based Schaap Holland joins Europatat

The European Potato Trade Association (Europatat) announced earlier this week that Schaap Holland B.V. has joined its ranks as the newest member. Founded in 1967, Schaap Holland’s headquarters are located in Biddinghuizen, in the central province of Flevoland in the Netherlands. From there, Schaap not only produces, grades, washes and processes potatoes for the broad industry, foodservice and retail markets, but[Read[Read More…]

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Northern Irish potato breeding pioneer celebrated through bank notes

North coast-man John Clarke may not be well-known to the general public, but his impact on the world of potatoes is such that his work is to be celebrated in Ulster Bank’s new bank note designs. Born in Ballintoy in 1889, Clarke went on to become a world-recognised expert in the science of potato breeding, producing dozens of varieties, some of[Read[Read More…]

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Researchers to develop ‘watchdog’ potato plants that can ‘talk’

Researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will work to modify potato plants to detect and report potential environmental threats such as nerve agents, radiation and plant pathogens to soldiers. The aim is also to help protect civilians living in post-conflict settings, and to innovate a new, revolutionary ‘sensor platform’. Awarded by[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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