IssuesFall 2013At The Root

At The Root

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People News

USPB NAMES NEW PRESIDENT

The United States Potato Board has named produce industry veteran, Blair Richardson, as president and CEO. Over the past four years, Richardson served as CEO for the combined entities of WesPak Sales Inc. and Enns Packing Inc., located in Dinuba, Calif.

OLSEN NEW PAA PRESIDENT

Nora Olsen has been named the Potato Association of America president for 2013–14. Olsen is a professor and extension potato specialist at the University of Idaho’s Kimberly Research and Extension Center. She is the first female president of the PAA.

Product News

MCCAIN LAUNCHSE WISE FRIES

After more than a decade of research and development, McCain Foods USA has announced the launch of Wise Fries. According to the company, the Wise Fries batter recipe helps protect the surface of the fry from absorbing as much oil as traditional fries, which “keeps just enough oil on the outside for great taste and crispness while maintaining the great potato flavor inside.”

LOW-GI POTATO ATTRACTS ATTENTION

Researchers have developed what they claim is the world’s first low-glycemic index potato. The Carisma potato was developed using natural breeding processes by market gardener Frank Mitolo and the Australian Glycemic Index Foundation. “We have undertaken exhaustive testing using the ISO testing standard and we are satisfied that Carisma is unique,” says Alan Barclay, chief scientific officer for the Australian GI Foundation. “Its glycemic index of 55 is between 30 per cent and 50 per cent less than other mainstream potato varieties.”

BIOPESTICIDE SUCCESSFUL AGAINST POTATO MOTH

The Guatemalan potato moth has been wreaking havoc in potato crops in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. Control measures exist, but are toxic or financially out of reach for many farmers. Now there’s a promising alternative — a biopesticide based on a virus that infects the moths. French and Ecuadorian researchers developed the biopesticide as a way to preserve the ecosystem and reduce the risk of pollution as well as the resistance of these destructive insects.

Business News

MCDONALD’S ADAPTING MENU

Under pressure to provide healthier meals, McDonald’s has announced it will no longer market some of its less nutritional options to children and says it also intends to include offerings of fruits and vegetables in many of its adult menu combinations. McDonald’s plans to make the changes to its menu in 20 of the company’s largest markets, which account for more than 85 per cent of its overall sales, including overseas.

NEW SEED POTATO IMPROVEMENT STATION

KWS Potato has begun operations at its new seed potato improvement station in the village of Nagele, located near Emmeloord in the Netherlands. KWS Potato is a subsidiary of the KWS group, which has invested the equivalent of almost C$17 million in the project.

MCCAIN TO EXPAND IN IDAHO

McCain Foods USA plans to invest more than $100 million to expand capacity at its potato processing plant in Burley, Idaho. A new building housing a third production line will boost capacity at the plant, which was built in the 1960s. The new line is expected to be operational by the end of 2015. According to Frank van Schaayk, McCain’s regional president for the Americas, the investment is a result of increasing demand worldwide for processed potato products.

KEY TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS IN POTATO SORTING

Key Technology has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with EVK DI Kerschhaggl GmbH and Insort GmbH to deploy chemical imaging technology, an advanced value-added hyperspectral solution, in Key Technology’s products, further enhancing potato sorting capabilities. Additionally, an exclusive distribution agreement enables Key Technology to market Insort’s chemical imaging sorters to North American and global accounts in the potato industry.

Industry News

CHINA TO HOST WORLD POTATO CONGRESS IN 2015

World Potato Congress Inc. has announced that Yanqing County, Beijing City, China, has been selected as the site of the ninth International World Potato Congress to be held July 28 to 30, 2015. It is the first time the congress will be held in the Beijing region of China. The event is expected to draw more than 900 delegates from developing and developed countries, including growers, researchers, producers, traders, processors and manufacturers.

GIS TO SUPPORT GERMPLASM COLLECTION

The International Potato Center (CIP) will use a geographic information system tool to support the collection of germplasm for the center’s gene bank and to allow researchers to explore potential locations for growing and finding new strains of tubers. GIS will help provide CIP’s gene bank and its genetic resources department with a gap analysis of potato and sweet potato, along with other Andean roots and tubers. Geographic information collected by GIS benefits many CIP projects that study the effects of climate change on potato production.

NEW STUDY COULD PROTECT POTATO YIELDS

A recent study by researchers at Scotland’s James Hutton Institute aims to identify genetic markers for heat stress tolerance that could help future breeding programs to develop new potato cultivars less susceptible to high temperatures. The study examined the impact of high temperatures following acclimation of mature tuberizing plants to typical and elevated daytime and night-time temperatures.

SCIENTISTS DEVELOP DROUGHT-TOLERANT POTATOES

Researchers from the International Potato Center (CIP) and their partners in Uzbekistan have selected potato clones from new breeding lines that tolerate drought, high temperatures and the long days of temperate summer, which is a promising development for farmers and consumers in Central Asia. The researchers have run field trials with 64 advanced clones bred by CIP to compare their development under normal, water deficit and severe drought conditions.

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