The Horizon 2020 EU project Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT) aims at developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. A total of 16 varieties were selected for trials in Austria with a focus on representing abiotic stress resistance. Eleven varieties obtained from potato breeders involved in ADAPT, namely HZPC, Solana, Meijer and NOES, are also being tested for drought and heat tolerance in Spain and the Netherlands.
South African seed potato producer RegenZ and European hybrid potato seed innovator Solynta announced today a partnership to bring hybrid true potatoes to the South African farming community. The companies will collaborate in further trials and join forces to facilitate the introduction of Solynta’s ‘climate smart’ and disease-free genetics to the South African farmer.
On 9, 10 and 11 November, HZPC will open its doors in Joure – and online – to anyone with a passion for potatoes. During Potato Days 2022, the company will discuss the challenges of food security and sustainability, now and in the future. And invited guests will further discuss how everyone involved in the global potato industry can make an important contribution together. HZPC will introduce visitors and online participants to its most promising varieties and innovations
A new modified corn and potato variety have been given the green light by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The potato plant from J.R. Simplot Company was modified to make it resistant to potato late blight and potato virus Y. It was also modified to alter the potato tuber sugar profile and quality.
The humble potato may struggle to grow in the UK in years to come due to climate change, researchers have warned. The James Hutton Institute (JHI) at Invergowrie, just outside Dundee, is now trying to find varieties that will grow in warmer conditions. Prof Lesley Torrance, the JHI research organisation’s executive director of science, warned that climate change posed an “existential threat” to the potato industry.
The Teton Russet potato variety has now been added to the list used for McDonald’s ‘World Famous Fries’, according to a news release issued by the Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI). With this acceptance, the Teton Russet becomes the ninth variety of potato to be used by McDonald’s in North America. The Teton Russet has already begun rolling out to suppliers/restaurants as early as August.
Jacob Beaton reaped a bounty of Ozette potatoes from his Tea Creek Farm in Kitwanga in northwest B.C. last week – but they aren’t the kind of potatoes you’d find at the supermarket. He says they are one of the oldest kinds of potatoes that Indigenous people grew in the coastal areas of what is now British Columbia, and by the Makah Nation in what is now the northwest tip of Washington state.
University of Idaho researchers are introducing genes from a plant in the nightshade family into potatoes, seeking to develop spuds that resist harmful nematodes. The plant, called ‘litchi tomato’, has natural resistance to several species of cyst and root-knot nematodes. “That’s an unusual trait to have such broad resistance,” said Allan Caplan, associate professor in U of I’s Department of Plant Sciences who is involved in the project.
Farmers’ rights activists say the PepsiCo India court case over its registration of a potato variety used to make its Lay’s potato chips, shows how companies which have registered plant varieties use coercive tactics against farmers to protect their interests. An ongoing court case between PepsiCo India and the petitioner, farmers’ rights activist Kavitha Kuruganti, has highlighted the tensions between plant-breeding corporations and farmers’ rights defenders in developing countries.
EUROPLANT celebrates 30th anniversary, announces merger with Böhm-Nordkartoffel Agrarproduktion (BNA)
During the recent PotatoEurope event in Germany, more than 300 guests from Germany and abroad met on 7th September 2022 at Gut Rethmar to celebrate the 30th anniversary of EUROPLANT Pflanzenzucht GmbH, and to pay a tribute to Dr Heinrich Böhm, who is retiring. EUROPLANT and Böhm-Nordkartoffel Agrarproduktion GmbH (BNA) announced a merger to come into effect during the new financial year 2023/2024.
Playing the ‘wild card’: Is it possible that some wild potato relatives can help tame zebra chip disease?
A new study led by Texas A&M AgriLife researchers has revealed some resistance to zebra chip disease among certain wild species of potato. As Paul Schattenberg reports for AgriLife Today, the study of 52 wild potato species — of which one accession was resistant and three were tolerant to the disease — took place as part of an effort to identify novel genetic resistance to the disease, which affects potato production worldwide.
Study to determine impact of wildfire smoke on Idaho potato crops, seeks to identify smoke-resilient varieties
A two-year study by Boise State University and University of Idaho probes how wildfire smoke affects potato crops and seeks to identify smoke-resilient potato varieties. “Observations from industry started all of this. When we have had bad, smoky years, yields are down and processing quality is down. Our hypothesis is smoke exposure causes that,” said Mike Thornton, a professor in U of I’s Department of Plant Sciences.
After successfully registering ‘halloumi’ (a traditional Cypriot cheese) as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, the government is now preparing an official request to register the island’s second most important agricultural product, the ‘Cyprus red potato’. The unique red soil in which much of the potatoes are grown, is said to give the tuber its earthy flavour.
The annual Texas A&M Potato Breeding Program Field Day, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Barrett Potato Farms, will be July 27. This year there are 180 potato clones — russets, chippers, reds, yellows, purples, smalls and fingerlings — including Texas-released varieties, advanced selections and some advanced clones from other breeding programs.
This op-ed article is by Dave Douches (PhD), professor and Director of the Potato Breeding and Genetics Program and Director of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Graduate Program at Michigan State University, and Project Director of the Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. “As a scientist working in potato breeding for over 40 years, one may wonder why I am talking about trust and critical thinking.”
Researchers will be testing genetically modified potatoes in Bangladesh and Indonesia this year in hopes of providing farmers with an alternative to spraying fungicides. Multiple confined field trials of GM late blight-resistant (LBR) potatoes will be conducted in both countries under a Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. Late blight disease is a serious problem in both countries, destroying 25 to 57 percent of the crop.
Viewing new starch-friendly potato varieties and learning more about the Meade Farm starch operation in Ireland were top of the agenda for the recent visit of World Potato Congress (WPC) delegates. Meade’s 2020 investment in a state-of-the-art potato-starch extraction facility has created a new market which can aid the long-term sustainability of Ireland’s potato crops.
The most recent potato variety to join the list of approved McDonald’s potato varieties is the Dakota Russet, developed at North Dakota State University by Asunta Thompson, associate professor of plant science and potato breeder. “This is a dream come true,” Thompson said. “Having our russet accepted by McDonald’s for their french fries is the gold standard we all strive for…
The Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership is a five-year project managed by Michigan State University that focuses on the commercialization of late blight disease resistant potatoes in farmer-preferred varieties in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, and Nigeria. The Partnership is pleased to announce members of the project’s technical advisory board (TAB).
Texas A&M AgriLife researchers modify potato starches to increase culinary and industrial applications
Humble potatoes are a rich source not only of dietary carbohydrates for humans, but also of starches for numerous industrial applications. Texas A&M AgriLife scientists are learning how to alter the ratio of potatoes’ two starch molecules – amylose and amylopectin – to increase both culinary and industrial applications.
Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island are beginning their search for a potato variety more resistant to potato wart following a provincial economic loss of 300 million pounds of potatoes. Xiuquan (Xander) Wang, a UPEI associate professor working on the project, said the funding from Genome Atlantic will go toward comparing the genes of different potato varieties.
The International Potato Center (CIP), the globally active Dutch seed potato company HZPC, and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) recently announced the launch of a second, five-year phase of their partnership to develop climate-resilient potatoes for tropical and subtropical conditions. CIP and HZPC will combine their experience, resources and germplasm to breed and select potato varieties suitable for farmers in tropical and subtropical Asia.
A good source of fibre and full of antioxidants, the potato is one of the most important food crops in the world – a crop that climate change is taking its toll on. How do different potatoes respond to heat, drought and waterlogging stresses? EU-backed scientists are investigating the changes that make potatoes resilient or susceptible.
The new generation of potato varieties is performing better and better under extreme climate conditions such as drought, according to the recent sustainability report of potato breeder HZPC, which was published on Earth Day (April 22). If the development continues, HZPC believes these innovations will contribute significantly to more food security worldwide, especially in regions where hunger is a real threat.
The significant threat posed by potato cyst nematode (PCN) in many potato-growing areas is making variety choice a key component of a sustainable production system. As Louise Impey reports for Farmers Weekly in the UK, with nematicides facing an uncertain future, varieties that offer both resistance and tolerance to the dominant nematode species, Globodera pallida, are becoming part of the solution.
As the risks from the climate crisis and global conflict increase, roughly 1,700 seed banks are increasingly considered a priceless resource that could one day prevent a worldwide food crisis, write Salomé Gómez-Upegui and Rita Liu in an extensive article published by The Guardian. One of these is the Potato Park, located in Pisac, Peru.