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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…

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….

Potato Days in The Netherlands

Potato Days is a spectacular event that is held every year in the Emmeloord-Joure areas of Friesland. It is a 3-day event, usually the second week in November, when the Dutch potato-breeding companies and a few companies from Germany and Denmark, open their doors to showcase new potato varieties. Tuber samples are on display, and there are brochures with information on agronomy, tuber quality and pest resistance. I have attended this event…

Canada Joins Global Partners in Support of Agriculture Innovation and Trade

November 02, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada The Government of Canada recognizes that Canadian innovation has helped make our country a leader in producing safe, high quality products and we are committed to fostering innovation in the agricultural sector – here in Canada and beyond. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, is pleased that Canada has joined Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras,…

Revolutionizing with CRISPR

By Alex Martin There are plenty of buzzwords surrounding the seed industry in 2018 — GMOs, gene-editing, organic and, of course, CRISPR. While we know a lot surrounding the debate of GMOs versus organic and whether or not GMOs and gene-editing overlap, one gene-editing technology still seems a mystery. So, what exactly is CRISPR-Cas9, and why does it matter to the seed industry? CRISPR is a genome editing system that could benefit…

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