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Developing vodka from waste potato peel

You can fry them, chuck them in the compost and soon you could be drinking them. In an effort to combat food waste, Potatoes South Australia has teamed up with the University of Adelaide and Adelaide Hills Distillery to make vodka from potato skins. Robbie Davis, chief executive officer of Potatoes SA, said at a national level, food loss in the agricultural industry — pre farm gate — was $3 billion annually….

The tale of two neonicotinoid bumblebee studies

Two studies on the health of bumblebees and links to neonicotinoid health were published simultaneously last month in sister publications of the prestigious science journal empire, Nature. Both examined closely similar scientific questions, with somewhat different experimental methodologies. But the study that found that neonics caused no serious issues was ignored by the media while the one suggesting a bee-apocalypse was widely played up as “definitive.” The studies were not identical in focus,…

Transforming agriculture data collection with tailor-made tools

The International Potato Center (CIP) is working to improve data collection while driving down costs by  building tools that gather vital information without ever touching a plant. Driven to improve the quality of information, an innovative team at CIP has pushed themselves to build their own equipment designed to help them streamline the data captured. By studying the interaction between plants and incident light, scientists can investigate everything from how the changing…

Market News

Despite a slow start for potato planting in some parts of the country, the average yield in Canada in 2017 is expected to come close to that of last year’s record-breaking crop, according to figures provided by the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). Based on late August estimates from producers, the Canadian average yield for this year’s crop is projected to be 304 hundredweight (cwt) per acre, which is just under…

Potato Mutants: Useless Freaks or Precious Gems?

Mutations are naturally occurring phenomena in all living organisms. Most mutations are harmful in the organisms in which they occur. In seed-propagated crops, such harmful mutations – “freaks” – are often lost in the cycle of sexual reproduction and selection. Since the potato is commercially propagated by vegetative means, most mutations (also known as “sports”) that occur in the potato will be maintained. This can either be a bane or a blessing…

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