If you’re involved in the potato processing industry, you might be familiar with the issue of “dusting” during the final frying of par-fried and frozen French fries. Recognized as a major quality concern, the industry is actively seeking solutions by adjusting processing parameters. A recent research program was developed to investigate this problem. R.G.M. van der Sman and Bjorn van den Oudenhoven examined dust formation by altering the standard processing of French fries and assessing the physical properties of the samples.
Smoke exposure linked to smaller, misshapen potatoes, according to Univ of Idaho, BSU study
Potato plants exposed to extreme smoke produced lower marketable yields than smoke-free plants, according to preliminary data from a joint University of Idaho and Boise State University study. Results differed based on variety, with heavy wildfire smoke exposure being linked to smaller Clearwater Russets and causing more unusable and misshapen Russet Burbanks. The project involved pumping artificially emulated wildfire smoke onto potato plots covered by plastic.
Optimizing fertilizer timing: The key to healthier potatoes and crispier french fries
For farmers and researchers, a field is often like a giant chemistry set. The timing and amounts of different fertilizers to supply nutrients can interact with each other, the soil, and crops. For example, potassium, an essential macronutrient for crops, is often applied to a field in the form of potassium chloride. Sarah Light, an agronomy farm advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, led a study on the timing of potassium chloride in potato fields.
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.
New protein-based biosensor enables early detection of late blight in potato plants
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a new molecular sensor system that enables early detection of late blight in potatoes. Researchers used genetic engineering methods to produce new potato varieties that produce distinctive proteins. The research findings revealed that the use of protein as a biological sensor was able to detect the diseased areas of the leaves during the ‘invisible stages’.
Seed potato trials look to science for disease alternatives
Chemistry is fast disappearing from farming’s toolbox, but researchers and farmers are working together to trial and demonstrate alternative solutions to protect the high health status of Scotland’s seed potato industry, as Ken Fletcher, editor of The Scottish Farmer reports in this news story. Scottish Agronomy has been working with Jim Reid, of Milton of Mathers Farm, near St Cyrus, who has been involved with seed potato trials for over a decade.
Scientists pioneer new potato-powered building material for future home construction on Mars
University of Manchester scientists have created a new material, dubbed ‘StarCrete’ which is made from extra-terrestrial dust, dehydrated potatoes, and a pinch of salt – and it could be used in future to build homes on Mars, according to a news release issued by the University this week. StarCrete has a compressive strength over twice as strong as ordinary concrete. Starcrete made from moon dust is even stronger.
Upcoming WPC webinar to focus on the importance of late blight resistant biotech potatoes in Africa
The World Potato Congress Inc. is pleased to announce its March webinar with Dr. Marc Ghislain and Dr. Eric Magembe. The webinar is scheduled to be presented live on Tuesday March 21, 2023 at 10:00am EST (Canada/USA). The webinar is titled “Deployment of late blight resistant biotech potatoes in Africa”.
Researchers pioneer new eco-friendly plastic alternative made from potato starch
The Spanish University of Alicante’s Waste, Energy, Environment and Nanotechnology (REMAN) research group has developed a process to obtain a water-soluble plastic material based on potato starch. It will soon be introduced on the market through the UA technology-based company Solublion. This new material is also compostable and biodegradable, so it is suitable for use as a flexible film, preferably in bags and packaging, and has great advantages over existing materials.
The Agricultural Research Service is breeding a better potato for a better potato chip
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service helps ensure that the country always has the perfect potato for frying into chips. ARS’ potato breeding program has already produced some major winners in the potato chip category – one is Atlantic. But potato producers have been ready for an Atlantic replacement for years.
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.
Northeast Potato Technology Forum scheduled for March
After two years of virtual meetings, the Northeast Potato Technology Forum is excited to be back in person for 2023. The meeting will take place on March 21st and 22nd, 2023 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. This two-day event will feature presentations from researchers from the Atlantic Northeast (NB, NS, PEI, QC and ME) working in potato research and agronomy.
Researchers develop affordable biosensor to detect soft rot in potato tubers
Diagnosing latent infections in their early stages is challenging since they do not present any external visual symptoms, making detection, tracking, and control difficult. The existing detection methods are time-consuming, destructive, and have limited sensitivity for detecting early-stage infections. However, a team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed biosensors that are tailored to detect infected potatoes during storage.
The power of women in potato science: Celebrating the contributions of these trailblazing researchers
To commemorate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Potato News Today wishes to honour the invaluable contributions of the many talented and dedicated women in the field of potato research and related fields. Whether working in a laboratory, in the field, or in the classroom, these women have been instrumental in shaping the direction of potato research and have helped to ensure that the potato industry remains at the forefront of scientific innovation.
CIP and CGIAR appoint Dr. Simon Heck as Director General and CGIAR Senior Director
The International Potato Center (CIP) Board of Trustees and CGIAR leadership have appointed Dr. Simon Heck as Director General of CIP and CGIAR Senior Director. Dr. Heck is widely recognized as a leader of successful international multi-stakeholder research-for-development programs focused on improving food and nutrition security, breeding climate-smart crops, and fostering inclusive value chains.
A fossil fruit from California shows ancestors of potatoes survived cataclysm that killed the dinosaurs
The discovery of an 80-million-year-old fossil plant pushes back the known origins of lamiids to the Cretaceous period, extending the record of nearly 40,000 species of flowering plants including modern-day staple crops like potatoes, coffee, tomatoes and mint, according to a news release by the University of Kansas.
Canada: Antioxidants, a booster shot for late blight prevention in potatoes
Dr. Bourlaye Fofana is a geneticist with AAFC in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada. He studied how selenium, a micronutrient or mineral that is found in soil, water and some foods, can be boosted in foods such as potatoes, soybean and flax. Selenium is essential to the diets of humans and animals and plays a key role in our metabolism. “Selenium is also an antioxidant, similar to blueberries, which helps reduce the risk of many diseases,” he says.
Canada: Upgraded Manitoba facility will allow for innovative potato storage research
The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $98,970 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to upgrade the University of Manitoba’s horticulture storage facility so it can conduct innovative potato research, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson announced today. The upgraded facility will also align with other international research facilities and will be able to create more training and capacity-building opportunities.
USDA funds PAPAS research project: ‘Potatoes and Pests – Actionable Science Against Nematodes’
USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) recently announced funding ($6.8M) for Potatoes and Pests – Actionable Science Against Nematodes (nicknamed PAPAS). The PAPAS team will engage in a four-year research project to provide growers with the best management practices for controlling infestations of both root knot and potato cyst nematodes in potato fields. Successful completion will result in several tools for growers.
Scottish scientists discover potato varieties resistant to potato cyst nematodes
The findings of a ground-breaking farm trial investigating potato varieties resistant to crop-destroying potato cyst nematodes (PCN) were revealed last week at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) in Invergowrie. Thanks to scientists from JHI, SoilEssentials, Scottish Agronomy, SRUC and SASA working collaboratively on this Scottish Government-funded project, new varieties of potato have been shown to be both highly resistant to PCN, and suitable for growth in Scotland’s climate.
PCN and blackleg main topics at Cambridge potato conference
Potato industry challenges posed by PCN and blackleg were among the topics discussed at the recent Cambridge University Potato Growers’ Association (CUPGRA) annual conference, as Ken Fletcher, editor at The Scottish Farmer reports in this news article. Scotland’s seed potato sector has an increasingly serious problem with the potato cyst nematode (PCN) species, globodera pallida, warned specialist potato agronomist, Eric Anderson, of Scottish Agronomy. Prof Ian Toth, of the James Hutton Institute, eld a workshop to discuss his latest research into Root damage by free living nematodes (FLN) as an important factor in blackleg infestation.
‘Not just a fad’: Is potato protein the next big thing?
You’re familiar with whey, pea, and soy, but potato protein? It might not be just a fad, writes Julia Savacool in a news story published by Yahoo!life. According to Savacool, a new study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise finds that consuming protein extracted from potatoes has the same benefits for helping your body rebound after a workout as consuming milk protein.
Trials in New York state looking at nematodes for controlling Colorado potato beetle, wireworms
As state and federal regulators try to limit synthetic pesticides available to growers, Cornell entomologist Brian Nault is investigating the use of nematodes to manage potato pests. “As of the fall of 2022, we have collected three data sets from field trials with entomopathogenic nematodes [EPN] that examine their impact on Colorado potato beetle populations and crop damage by wireworms,” Nault says.
Univ of Idaho leading USDA-funded project to help potato farmers combat nematodes
A University of Idaho-led research team has received a $6.8 million U.S. Department of Agriculture award to develop new diagnostic tools, management practices and resources for controlling harmful nematodes in potato fields. The four-year project is funded through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative. Louise-Marie Dandurand, with U of I’s Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology, heads the project, titled “PAPAS: Potatoes and Pests, Actionable Science Against Nematodes.”
UMaine researchers testing lobster shells to thwart potato soil pathogens
Scientists at the University of Maine are evaluating if lobster shells can cultivate beneficial microbial communities that ward off soilborne potato pathogens. The novel shell-to-spud combination may connect two cornerstones of Maine’s food system and enhance the state’s circular economy. Katie Ashley, a plant science Ph.D. student in the lab of Associate Professor Jianjun Hao, is assessing how different concentrations of cooked, dried and ground lobster shells may prevent potato disease.
Canada: Potato project focuses on sustainability, bedding practices for potato crops
Traditionally potato producers in Canada use the late fall to prepare their potato beds for the following spring. The long-established process has its benefits, but also creates concerns, including loss of soil fertility, crop nutrient availability and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. A new research project at Lethbridge College will work to determine what steps can be taken to ensure the best result for producers, while also moving toward environmentally sustainable agriculture practices.
Potatoes South Africa announces research priorities, encourages suggestions for new ideas
Potatoes SA recently announced its research priorities for 2023. The industry body says in a news post on its website that the main intention of its research initiatives is to support potato growers in South Africa in optimising their production efficiency. The organization says it further intends to foster “a better understanding of the local potato market, as well as exploring future opportunities in creating consumer demand for potatoes in the country.”
Multimillion dollar programme in New Zealand aims to provide growers with a nitrogen management tool
Sustainable Vegetable Systems (SVS) is a $7.5 million dollar multi-tiered research programme, funded by New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, led and co-funded by Potatoes New Zealand in collaboration with the Vegetable Research & Innovation Board and Horticulture NZ. SVS provides the data and subsequent modelling of vegetable nutrient uptake and nitrogen leaching. Potatoes New Zealand recently uploaded three videos on its YouTube channel to explain the SVS programme goals and activities.
Study in Canada’s Alberta province looking at rapid detection and early diagnosis of potato diseases
Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) recently announced a project to establish a system for early and rapid diagnosis of all potato diseases, and provide Alberta potato growers a proactive surveillance platform. The outcomes from this project will benefit all Alberta’s potato producers and plant disease researchers.