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Microbial Marauder of Potato, Tomato Crops Has an Accomplice

By Jan Suszkiw, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA ARS WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA, November 5, 2019—Descendants of the fungus-like pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s—Phytophthora infestans—may have had a “helping hand” in recent U.S. outbreaks of the costly blight disease. Reporting in the September 2019 issue of Virus Research, a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Cornell University (CU) and Rutgers University scientists announced they had identified a virus that infects P. infestans and appears to increase the pathogen’s…

Potato as Effective as carbohydrate gels for boosting athletic performance study finds

By University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign News Bureau Consuming potato puree during prolonged exercise works just as well as a commercial carbohydrate gel in sustaining blood glucose levels and boosting performance in trained athletes, scientists report. “Research has shown that ingesting concentrated carbohydrate gels during prolonged exercise promotes carbohydrate availability during exercise and improves exercise performance,” said University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Nicholas Burd, who led the research. “Our…

Driving Out Blight With Dual Control

Combining methods of disease control rather than relying on a single resistance strategy can extend the durability of crops by many years, confirms computer modelling that draws on classical population genetics theory. The finding comes from assessing the spread and virulence of the pathogen responsible for late blight of potato, Phytophthora infestans. The pathogen, which caused the Great Irish Famine in the mid-nineteenth century and led to the new science of plant…

Better Sooner Than Later

Late blight is a deadly disease that requires integrated management, including foliar fungicides as a key tool. Usually potato growers make repeated preventive applications of broad-spectrum fungicides starting before row closure, and then use late blight-specific fungicides if the disease is found in their fields. Now studies in Ontario and the Maritimes are working on easy-to-use technologies for early detection of late blight that could allow more targeted fungicide strategies. Late blight…

Complex Potato Genome Further Unveiled

The potato is one of the most important food crops worldwide. Improvements to its traits can therefore have a major impact. Reading the genome structure of the potato is extremely tricky, however, as a regular potato consists of four genomes, which makes it difficult to determine the position of the genes. The recent research applied a diploid real potato plant with only one genome, a so-called homozygote, which makes it easier to read and compare the DNA base sequence. This plant, Solyntus, was produced as part of Solynta’s hybrid potato breeding programme.   The genome…

Scientists Discover Wild Potatoes Key For Stronger Spuds

Potatoes have been a staple of Britain’s diet for half a millennium, but new research suggests that limited genetic differences in potato lineages has left British and American spuds vulnerable to the disease that caused the Irish potato famine. Plant scientists at the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute have revealed that commercial potato crops are under constant threat of late blight, the pathogen behind one of Europe’s most devastating…

Sugar End Disorder and Stem-End Chip Defect Stress Factors and Management – A Spud Smart Webinar & Podcast

Sugar ends is a physiological disorder that can occur at a tuber’s bud or stem end. The disorder’s symptoms usually aren’t apparent until the tuber’s exposure to colder temperatures — around 10 C or below. The stress that causes the disorder’s development occurs early in the growing season and may be difficult to determine.   Stem-end chip defect is another serious threat affecting tuber quality for chip potato growers. What are the causes…

Community and Science Strengthens Industry

Robert Thornton, an extension vegetable specialist and professor emeritus at Washington State University has been attending Potato Association of America (PAA) annual meetings since the early 1960s. He says the biggest reason he has maintained his membership for more than five decades is it keeps him honest. “Every year is an opportunity to have your thinking questioned,” Thornton says. “You can stay isolated in your own area of concern and be very…

Build Soil Quality and Suppress Soil-Borne Pathogens to Improve Yields Study Concludes

Canadian potato farmers, facing rising production costs and increased pressure from global competitors, are always looking for ways to increase yields. Identifying obstacles limiting potato yields is part of the answer, and was the primary objective of a major five-year research project conducted in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba, which wrapped up last year. Project partners in the industry-led study included McCain Foods Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Potatoes New…

Spud Smart Webinar: Fighting Common Scab

Common scab is a pervasive threat to some potato-growing regions in Canada. Lesions and cavities on infected tubers can render them unmarketable. Researchers and industry experts are still trying to determine why the pathogen is more prevalent in some fields than others as well as the best methods for fighting the disease. While growers use many different practices to control common scab, none have proven to be totally effective. During this webinar,…

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