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.
Bejo has obtained breeder’s rights on its first True Potato Seed (TPS) variety. The company says in a news release that this new potato hybrid, named Oliver F1, can be cultivated directly from botanical seed and, after transplanting, produces table potatoes in one season. Oliver F1 is a slightly floury table potato with an oval shape, smooth skin and very good taste, the company says.
The Horizon 2020 EU project Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT), in which Europatat is participating, aims to elucidate potato tolerance to single and combined abiotic stresses, and to develop new strategies for potato improvement. A set of 30 potato cultivars were selected for studies in controlled glasshouse experiments.
Thanks to a collaboration between researchers across the world, including the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, potato breeders will now have a much better toolkit to develop new varieties best suited to their needs in a changing climate. By identifying useful traits—like local adaptability and climate flexibility— in some of the dozens of wild varieties of potatoes, researchers could help breeders cut down on the time and cost to develop new cultivars.
In 2022 the Lueneburg-based company EUROPLANT Pflanzenzucht GmbH celebrates its 30th anniversary. The EUROPLANT Group currently has more than 250 employees. It sells worldwide about 260,000 tonnes of seed potatoes, and 145,000 tonnes on the German market.
Maine researchers are on their way to creating a climate-resistant potato in order to maintain Maines’s ability to produce potato harvests. This has become a growing threat to Maine as climate change has impacted the growth of potatoes, making their quality go down, and the crop numbers drop dramatically.
Meijer Potato believes that everybody deserves to enjoy food. Robust potato varieties are necessary to provide a growing world population with healthy food, even in the face of climate change. Meijer Potato recently launched a digital robustness index with 7 items, made up of different variety characteristics, to objectively compare the robustness of varieties.
The NThe National Potato Council and KFC in Kenya have identified the Markies potato variety that farmers in that country can now grow to supply the US-based fast-food chain with locally sourced French fries. The National Potato Council said KFC agreed in a meeting last week to have local farmers plant the Markies variety to cut overreliance on imports.
German retail giant Kaufland has rolled out low-carbohydrate potatoes, said to have 30% less carbohydrates, under its ‘Linella’ label. The new potato SKU is available across Germany at all Kaufland outlets, the retailer added. The innovative potato was created in collaboration with Kaufland’s long-term partner, Europlant Plant Breeding.
When we hear the term ‘cellular agriculture’ these days, our minds typically wander to the production of cultivated meat and dairy. But similar techniques also have a part to play in growing fruits, vegetables, and other crops, writes Jack Ellis in an article published by AgFunder Network news. Ellis writes that South Korea’s E Green Global is starting out by creating potato seedlings from tissue cultures in the lab, and hopes to replicate the method with other crops in the near future.
HZPC says in a recent news article that the company’s growers know it better than anyone: a healthy soil is crucial for good potato growing. But a healthy soil offers more. It contributes to all the main pillars of HZPC in the field of sustainability. The talk HZPC had with grower Pieter Klaas Westerhuis from Usquert in Groningen, the Netherlands confirms this: “We don’t want to leave any problems behind for the next generation to solve”.
Technico Agri Sciences Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of ITC Limited, is now a Great Place to Work-Certified company by the Great Place to Work Institute. The Certification is recognized around the world by employees and employers alike and is considered the ‘Gold Standard’ in identifying and recognizing Great Workplace Cultures.
This [email protected] story digs into a new rapid-fire approach to potato breeding that makes farmer-favorite varieties resistant to late blight, which could increase profits by at least 40% wherever potato is cropped. The secret? The latest biotech methods mixed with the oldest breeding trick in the book – harvesting the wild genes of the potato’s distant ancestors.
EUROPLANT presents its innovative potato varieties with high nutrient efficiency characteristics. The company’s high- yielding and high-quality specialty varieties for low input production are said to protect the environment and save costs.
“We were searching for a quicker-cooking potato variety to make crispy, golden roasties that taste deliciously buttery, and this is what we found,” according to Lincolnshire-based potato growing business Branston. Branston says this new variety has been developed through careful crossing between Inca Bella and the popular, red-skinned Salad variety Franceline.