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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…

New potato varieties available for farmers in Phillipines

Two leading research institutions have partnered to help increase potato production in the Philippines, in order to meet the increasing demand for the commodity that is also fuelled by the proliferation of more fast food establishments in the country. Through its National Technology Commercialization Program, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) is supporting the Northern Philippines Root Crops Research and Training Center (NPRCRTC) based at the Benguet State University in…

Hybrid breeding technology protects potato from fungus

In a hidden experimental field in Wageningen, the Netherlands, surrounded by tall maize plants, there are several smaller plots with potato plants. In some of these plots there are only dead plants, in others the plants have been affected by late blight (Phytophthora infestans) to a greater or lesser extent, but there are also fields with only perfectly healthy potatoes. The latter are the result of the latest crosses by the Wageningen…

Fast-Tracking Extreme Resistance

A key tool in the arsenal for controlling potato virus Y (PVY) is cultivar resistance. Now, researchers are developing better molecular markers for faster, more accurate screening of potato breeding lines for “extreme resistance” to PVY – equivalent to PVY immunity. That will enable breeders to more efficiently develop new varieties with total protection against this serious disease. “PVY is one of the most widespread viruses and also one of the most…

Dutch company develops new blight-resistant potato

The Dutch company Solynta has developed a potato variety that is resistant to late blight (Phytophthora infestans). As a result, it could greatly reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture. The company plans to unveil its new blight-resistant potato later this week. The potato disease causes widespread damage to potato stocks worldwide every year, despite the intensive use of pesticides. Richard Visser, chair and head plant breeding at Wageningen University & Research,…

Potato research lab shares milestones at open house

Benoit Bizimungu spends about 12 years working on a single type of potato, trying to develop a more resilient crop that requires less fertilizer or chemical. The research scientist had a chance to share his work with the public Saturday, Aug. 19, when his workplace, the Fredericton Research and Development Centre, opened its laboratory doors to the public. More than 300 people stopped by the open house to get a peek into…

Innate Second Generation Potato Receives Canadian Clearance

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have completed the food, feed and environmental safety assessments of the J.R. Simplot Company’s second generation of Innate potatoes. The authorizations enable the potatoes to be imported, planted and sold in Canada, complementing the three varieties of Innate first generation potatoes that received regulatory approval last year. Health Canada conducted a comprehensive safety assessment and approved the use of Innate second generation potatoes…

Ontario Potato Research Field Day

The Ontario Potato Board and the University of Guelph’s Plant Agriculture Department is hosting the 2017 Ontario Potato Research Field Day on August 16 at the Elora Research Station. From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, hear about and see new potato varieties for Canadian producers and consumers, with the U of G’s Vanessa Currie; learn about Ontario-grown early potatoes with low glycemic impact, from the U of G’s Dr….

Researchers Engineer Heat Tolerance in Potato Crops

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute and the University of St. Andrews have developed a technique to ‘engineer’ heat tolerance in potato crops, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties suited to the requirements of growers, industry and retailers. The potato crop is particularly vulnerable to increased temperature, which is considered to be the most important uncontrollable factor affecting growth and yield, according to the…

Quebec eyes Seed Potato Export to Latin America and Caribbean

Over the past few decades, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Alberta have exported a considerable amount of seed potatoes from Canada to Latin America and the Caribbean. However, the export market in some of those countries has decreased substantially in the past couple of years. Meanwhile, seed potato growers from Quebec have almost exclusively exported their seed potatoes to the U.S. Recently, a couple of seed potato companies from Quebec, together…

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