‘Plant-speak’: Scientists developed device to ‘communicate’ with plants

A team of scientists led by Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a device that can deliver electrical signals to and from plants, opening the door to new technologies that make use of plants. The NTU team developed their plant ‘communication’ device by attaching a conformable electrode (a piece of conductive material) on the surface of a Venus flytrap plant using a soft and sticky adhesive known as hydrogel. The NTU team is looking to devise other applications using an improved version of their plant ‘communication’ device.

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‘Thievery’: First known gene transfer from plant to insect identified

A pernicious agricultural pest owes some of its success to a gene pilfered from its plant host millions of years ago. The research finding is the first known example of a natural gene transfer from a plant to an insect. It also explains one reason why the sweet potato whitefly Bemisia tabaci is so adept at munching on crops: the gene that it swiped from plants long ago enables it to neutralize a toxin that some plants produce to defend against insects.

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Canadian researchers pursue anti-virulence strategy in fight against common scab, antibiotic resistant bacteria

In the ongoing war against antibiotic resistant bacteria, a change in battle tactics may prove effective for controlling common scab of potatoes and potentially other toxins that affect humans and animals, according to Canadian Light Source Inc. The approach that Dr. Rod Merrill at the University of Guelph and his research group are pursuing is an anti-virulence strategy – finding or designing small molecules that inhibit the tools bacteria use to colonize the host and create infection.

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Idaho potato industry benefits from state program that spurs ag innovations

The Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) program has spurred many agricultural innovations that promise to help the Gem State’s farmers and ranchers improve their bottom lines. IGEM projects are now helping the state’s potato industry remove harmful pathogens in storage and to better scout fields for a disease that’s especially problematic for seed growers, potato virus Y. A third project aims to help the chipping industry reduce levels of acrylamide.

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The future of potato breeding? UMaine professors trying to develop potato varieties using new DNA-based tools

Two professors at the University of Maine in Orono are working on breeding new potato varieties. Hannah Yechivi reports for News Center Maine that professor of crop ecology and management in the School of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Greg Porter, and assistant professor of plant genetics with the School of Biology and Ecology Dr. Han Tan are studying how to make more varieties using a new DNA-based tool.

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Finding the ‘sprightly spud’: HZPC’s search for the secret to seed potato vitality

Since 2018, HZPC and Averis Seeds have been collaborating in the “Flight to Vitality” research project. It is a quest for the factors that influence the germination capacity – and therefore the vitality – of seed potatoes. At the end of 2021, when the practical investigation is completed, the company says it is hoping that the mystery will be solved. The answer to one question has always remained unanswered: how is it possible that seed potatoes sometimes grow much better and faster than at other times?

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Researchers review the spread of late blight across Asia over a century and a half

Researchers Sanjoy Guha Roy, Tanmoy Dey, David E. L. Cooke and Louise R. Cooke recently published this review in the journal Plant Pathology. In a news article for the The British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) the research team writes they have scoured the literature to report on the dynamics of Phytophthora infestans (1870-2020) that has shadowed the expansion of potato cropping.

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Breakthrough research: Wastewater from potato processing plants could be used in the recycling of high-tech devices

Every year, it takes millions of gallons of water to clean, peel and slice Idaho’s potatoes before they’re processed into any number of products from tater tots and animal feed to industrial starch. As a result, Idaho potato processors must treat and dispose of a large amount of wastewater that contains organic matter, silt and sand. But now, new research from Idaho National Laboratory suggests that potato wastewater might serve well as a low-cost food source for a special bacterium that could be used to recycle high-tech devices.

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UK: New Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm field experiments to focus on growing a quality crop

AHDB Potatoes announced today that L P Ollier & Son, Knutsford, has agreed to host a number of field experiments as part of the 2021 Strategic Potato Farm programme. Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager for the North of England, Graham Bannister said: “This year’s theme has an emphasis on growing a quality crop, based around nutrition, storage and where appropriate, alternative IPM methods.

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Webinar – ‘Late Blight: 175 years of experience. What have we learned? An update’

This webinar will be hosted by World Potato Congress Inc, and presented by Albert Schirring of Bayer AG on March 31, 2021 at 09:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. During his presentation, Albert Schirring will discuss the key principles of robust late blight management strategies. He will also focus on the global population dynamics of the late blight pathogen to improve fungicide resistance management strategies.

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Webinar now online: ‘Fighting back against late blight’

Spud Smart magazine in Canada recently hosted its latest Spud Smart Innovation webinar, which was brought to you by the Canadian Potato Council. Across Canada, a group of researchers are working, as part of a national research cluster, to develop a strategy to fight back against this costly potato disease.

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Canadian researcher identifying genes related to potato scabbing

A Prince Edward Island.-based researcher in Canada is unlocking the genetic make-up of potatoes in an effort to develop a variety that is resistant to common scab disease. Bourlaye Fofana, PhD, a molecular biologist and research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Harrington Research Farm, recently completed comparative gene expression profiling between two types of potatoes – Green Mountain, which[Read More…]

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On-farm trials in New Zealand target potato tuber moth

Two Pukekawa trials in New Zealand are showing some early promise for potato growers when it comes to greater control of the potato tuber moth. Pukekohe company Inta-Ag has been running a trial on a potato grower’s land at Pukekawa using straw mulch to see what effect it can have on PTM.

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EuroBlight network to host online technical meetings in March and April

The EuroBlight network announced recently that it will organise four subgroup meetings and one online workshop in March and April this year to replace the physical workshop originally planned for May, 2021. EuroBlight offers 5 minute presentations and 1 minute “elevator talks” about your work. If you want to present then please indicate the title of your presentation when registering.

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Potato pathologist discusses the emergence and prevalence of potato mop top virus

In a recent presentation, Dr. Julie Pasche, potato pathologist at North Dakota State University (NDSU), discusses the emergence and prevalence of potato mop top virus (PMTV). Dr. Pasche says in her presentation that potato mop top virus is present in many potato growing countries around the world. Studies that were conducted in the US and Canada looked at about three thousand seed lots and found that approximately four percent of them were positive for PMTV.

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James Hutton Institute: New research to shed light into mechanisms of potato blight infection

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and partner institutions are set to explore previously undiscovered mechanisms through which the pathogen responsible for late blight in potato, Phytophthora infestans, breaks through cell walls to infect plants. The main research hypothesis of the project is that there are other factors that influence the establishment of P. infestans in a crop and identifying these will provide new targets for crop protection strategies.

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Canadian scientists help to develop new weapon in the war against wireworms

For many years, farmers have struggled with limited options to control wireworms, leading to crop damage and loss. Now, thanks to support efforts from three Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientists, farmers have a new wireworm defence in their arsenal. The AAFC researchers have been assessing the performance of Broflanilide on cereal and potato crops at the Harrington Research Farm in PEI, the Agassiz Research Farm in BC, and with local farmers.

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Potato Soil Health Project: Webinar now available on demand

In this recorded webinar, hosted by Spudman magazine, you’ll hear from researchers for the USDA/SCRI funded Potato Soil Health Project and learn about what they’ve discovered through research. The panel will introduce three distinct aspects of the program. The webinar is now available to watch at your convenience.

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Potato breeder to plant first field generation of crosses with greening resistance

The potato breeder with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen is using genetics from a wild spud relative to develop crosses that won’t turn green when exposed to light. Richard Novy, potato breeder with the agency’s Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Facility, plans to plant the first field generation of crosses developed to resist tuber greening this spring.

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Gene-Altered Attitudes: The gene revolution turns 25

Roger Beachy still remembers the excitement of planting the first genetically altered food crop into United States soils. It was the summer of 1987 when he, along with a team of Monsanto scientists, transplanted tomatoes modified to resist a virus at the company’s research farm, near Jerseyville, Illinois. It would take almost a full decade before transgenic plants gained a serious foothold in U.S. soils, and they would not be those the idealistic young scientist envisioned.

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