US: New research lab to study genetics of potatoes to prevent losses while in storage

Patricia Santos and Dylan Kosma in their labThe University of Nevada Reno’s plant biology tag team, Dylan Kosma and Patricia Santos, are searching for ways to reduce potato crop losses during storage. The University’s Kosma-Santos lab, in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, was recently awarded a $1.37 million grant by the National Science Foundation to investigate the molecular-genetics and biochemistry that underlies potato crop losses during tuber storage. As the number one vegetable crop in the United States and a top five crop for the state of Nevada, potato crop losses can be economically devastating to farmers and the potato industry as a whole. A large proportion of these crop losses are due to factors such as rapid water loss and disease while in storage. “Even a 5 percent reduction in potato losses during storage would improve the economic return for the producers and the potato industry by $170 million,” Kosma said. The research delves into comprehending how different potato varieties can have different storage lives. More