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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…

Cornell Improves Global Access to Potato Breeding Material

By Maina Dhital Cornell’s plant breeders and geneticists have played a significant role in the improvement of the potato, having released more than 50 varieties since 1908. Cornell researchers are now expanding their efforts to make more wild potato seeds available to potato breeders around the world. With support from the Wallace Genetic Foundation, Cornell scientists continue their efforts in the Cornell-Eastern Europe-Mexico (CEEM) International Collaborative Project on Potato Late Blight control…

How Potatoes Could Become Sun Worshippers

If there’s one thing potato plants don’t like, it’s heat. If the temperature is too high, potato plants form significantly lower numbers of tubers or sometimes none at all. Biochemists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered the reason why. If the temperature rises, a so-called small RNA blocks the formation of tubers. The scientists have now successfully switched off this small RNA and have produced potato plants that are more resistant…

Heat Stress Study Aims to Protect Potato Yields

Temperature has a pronounced effect on the formation of potato tubers: when temperature is too high, potato plants form less or no tubers, which can greatly decrease yields. Scientists at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen Nuremberg (Germany) and the James Hutton Institute have uncovered the genetic mechanism behind the decrease of potato yields under high temperatures, which may help develop heat-tolerant varieties and protect future potato yields. Potato is a major global food crop…

Potato Breeding: A European Approach, Part III

MARCEL BRUINS, editor of European Seed, sat down with the leaders of five major potato breeding companies in Europe to learn more about the challenges of breeding new potato varieties. Piet Smeenge, director of Kweekbedrijf Smeenge-Research; Vanessa Prigge, Crop Improvement project manager at Solana; Gerard Backx, CEO of HZPC; Jan-Paul Bandsma, product manager at de Nijs Potatoes; and Guus Heselmans, R&D manager of C. Meijer B.V., provided insight on this favoured crop. …

Innate Outlook

INNATE POTATOES, the biotech spud from Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company, have been approved for production and sale in Canada since 2016.  Since then, Innate has been grown in field trials in P.E.I., Ontario and Manitoba and the trials are expected to continue in 2019. But aside from a few acres in Ontario that’s producing an Innate chip variety for an American processor, there isn’t any commercial production of Innate potatoes in this…

New Way Forward

The potato breeding program operated by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has a long history, releasing more than 130 new varieties over the past 90 years. Because of shifts in consumer demand, technologies, markets and growing conditions that have transformed the potato landscape in Canada in recent years, AAFC has decided it’s time for a change. This year, the department’s potato breeding program is undergoing a major overhaul in an effort to modernize…

A Better Estimate of the Net Yield of Seed Potatoes with Vision Techniques

Growers of seed potatoes would like to know on which part of their parcel the potatoes grow best, and how the location influences the size of the potatoes. But during harvesting, hundreds of potatoes will roll into the harvesting machine at the same time. Wageningen University & Research is working with Aeres Hogeschool, the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Green Campus and several growers to study how this yield can be measured by…

The Benefits of True Potato Seed

Charles Miller, commercial director of Solynta, discusses true potato seed with Julie Deering, editor of Spud Smart’s sister publication, Seed World. Miller discusses the benefits of true potato seed, or potatoes grown from seeds instead of tubers. Solynta has been working on producing hybrid true seed potatoes through targeted breeding. Miller says true seeds don’t take as long to produce new varieties in comparison to tubers — which take about eight years to…

Potato Breeding: A European Approach, Part II

Marcel Bruins, editor of European Seed, sat down with the leaders of five major potato breeding companies in Europe to learn more about the challenges of breeding new potato varieties. Piet Smeenge, director of Kweekbedrijf Smeenge-Research; Vanessa Prigge, Crop Improvement project manager at Solana; Gerard Backx, CEO of HZPC; Jan-Paul Bandsma, product manager at de Nijs Potatoes; and Guus Heselmans, R&D manager of C. Meijer B.V., provided insight on this favoured crop….

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