UK: The Potato Partnership – a successful first year, but what’s next?

Clarity of focus coupled with modest, but realistic expectations explain the first-year success of the Potato Partnership, says James Wrinch, director of East Suffolk Produce and a TPP founding partner. “Part of our success owes much to the clarity of purpose that brought us together. We have been clear about our objectives, but just as importantly, we know what we are not about. Our focus is on agronomic trials, not crop marketing or lobbying government,” Mr Wrinch says.

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New groundbreaking online tool for Phytophthora research unveiled: The pathogen ‘Tree of Life’

A groundbreaking, first of its kind online tool, the pathogen “Tree of Life,” enables researchers worldwide to identify, detect, and monitor Phytophthora species. The tool offers comprehensive information on 192 formally described species, their evolutionary history, and genetic data. It allows real-time updates to plant disease information, aiding in tracking emerging threats.

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‘Lunch & Learn’: PRAC’s impact on the U.S. potato industry and how it fosters growth, innovation

The Potato Research Advisory Committee (PRAC) contributes invaluable expertise and strategic guidance to the potato industry, driving innovation, fostering collaboration, and ultimately enhancing potato production in the U.S. Potatoes USA will be hosting a webinar about PRAC next week where you can deepen your knowledge of potato research and learn how PRAC continues to empower growth in the industry.

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Eco-driven alliance: Frito-Lay and Quaker collaborate to fast-track sustainable packaging innovation

Frito-Lay Frito-Lay North America and Quaker today announced the opening of an industry-leading Greenhouse Learning Center at its R&D headquarters. The Learning Center will be used to field test, measure, and analyze compostable packaging with an aim to speed up the rate of innovation. This facility represents a key milestone to achieve the company’s PepsiCo Positive (pep+) packaging goal to design 100 percent of packaging to be recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable by 2025.

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Study: Comparison of frying methods’ impact on chemical formation in French fries

Deep-fat frying, a cooking technique that involves immersing food in hot oil, has been linked to several potential health problems due to the formation of toxic compounds during cooking. One such compound, acrylamide (AA), found in high-carbohydrate foods like French fries. To address these concerns, new frying methods such as microwave frying, air frying, and vacuum frying have emerged.

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Meet the two plant metabolic engineers using molecular farming to grow proteins from potatoes

Could the humble potato be the key to a scalable, cost-effective protein source to meet the food industry’s protein demands and to nourish the world’s growing population? As Laura Hodgkiss reports in an article published by FoodHack, Dr. Maya Sapir-Mir and Dr. Raya Liberman-Aloni think so. To make this idea happen, the Israeli researchers teamed up to launch their company PoLoPo at the beginning of 2022.

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New Act enables scientists to improve crops in England

With the recent Precision Breeding Act passed, England now has the opportunity to capitalise on its world-leading research base in plant sciences and make agriculture more sustainable. Prof. Jonathan Jones FRS, Group Leader at The Sainsbury Laboratory who developed a GM fully late blight resistant PiperPlus potato, says “After many decades researching the science that can make our crops resistant to disease and less reliant on fungicides, I am delighted to finally see changes in legislation that will allow some of these innovations to be applied in the field.

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Cracking the ‘dust dilemma’: Unraveling the causes and solutions for ‘dust formation’ in frozen fries production

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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’.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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