Uganda: GMO potatoes expected to reach store shelves in 2020

Scientists say the first batch of locally grown genetically modified potatoes will be on sale in Ugandan retail markets in 2020. Dr Alex Barekye, the director of Kachwekano Zonal Agriculture Research Institute in the western district of Rubanda, said agricultural biotechnology research on potatoes is underway to create a genetically modified variety that will be resistant to diseases. Barekye said three trials have been conducted on the Victoria potato variety and so far, tests did not find any disease, yet the yield is high. “When we look at all the products in the GMO line and look at the duration of the crop, I think potatoes will be the first GMO crop to be commercially available in Uganda. We have conducted three trials and found that the disease is not there. The yield is good and there is nothing that has changed,” Dr. Barekye told The Observer in an interview during the World Food day celebrations in Rubanda on October 16. More

New potato variety with superior heat tolerance released in India

New potato variety in India, Kufri Lima, to take on the heat...Potato farmers in India can expect higher yields and profits with the release of a new variety, Kufri Lima. Developed in collaboration with the International Potato Center (CIP for its acronym in Spanish) and the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Kufri Lima, proved to be both early, heat tolerant and virus resistant, preferred traits by local farmers. It is the first CIP clone recommended for release in India. Earlier CIP germplasm was crossed with CPRI parents resulting in the release of eight varieties since 1975. According to Mohinder Kadian, a CIP Regional Research Scientist based out of New Delhi, earlier planting is possible with Kufri Lima due to its heat tolerance, giving farmers the ability to sell their potatoes at a premium price before other varieties hit the market. Other farmers have to wait for temperatures to cool down before they can plant. More

Turkey using local potato seed varieties to combat imports

Turkey’s Niğde Potato Research Institute aims to be more localised in the field of potato seeds. The Institute developed and registered indigenous seeds “Onaran 2015”, “Fatih”, “renowned”, “Nahita”, “Nam”, “Leventbey”, “Çanlı” and “Muratbey”in order to meet his goal. Ugur Pirlak, director of Niğde Potato Research Institute, said that they started breeding in 2005 to solve the problem of imported seed and that they registered 8 potato varieties. Referring to importance of producing seeds, Pirlak, continued as follows: “The largest cost of potato production is seed. The seed is imported from abroad and presented to farmers by replicating in this country. Of course, this situation greatly raises cost of our producers in potato production.” More

Dutch potato breeder HZPC books record turnover and gross profit

Related imagePotato breeder company HZPC, based in the Netherlands, announced during a shareholders’ meeting on 5 October that a consolidated net turnover of €318.5 million was achieved for the financial year 2016/17. The gross profit is €59.3 million and the net result is reportedly €8.5 million. A dividend of €7 per HZPC certificate has been determined, which is €1.25 higher than the previous year and €2 above the five year average. With this net turnover and gross profit, HZPC has achieved new record figures. A higher net profit was achieved in the financial year 2013/14. The takeover of the assets and seed potato activities of KWS Potato together with an acquisition in Russia have contributed to the higher HZPC year figures. In addition to this, the growth is also due to the continuing growth in seed potato acreage and the corresponding increase in seed crop production and -trade. More

US: Spud breeders focus on PCN-resistant russets

John O’Connell/Capital Press
Rich Novy, right, a potato breeder with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, Idaho, saves breeding clones crossed from an Irish parent with late blight resistance while evaluating more than 100,000 first-year “single hill” clones Sept. 28 in trials hosted in Aberdeen.A project underway in Aberdeen, Idaho, aims to develop russet potatoes with resistance to pale cyst nematode, while identifying new molecular markers associated with resistance. Researchers with the local potato breeding program harvested a special block of first-year clones on Sept. 29, screened for their ability to help the industry cope with potato cyst nematode. The block contained a half dozen plants from each of 223 breeding clones resulting from crosses of Western Russet and Eden, a round Scottish variety with known resistance to potato cyst nematode. Joe Kuhl, a University of Idaho associate professor of plant genetics, will also use clones from the plot in genetic mapping research to identify new genes associated with PCN resistance. Kuhl said he’s midway through a five-year project focused on breeding PCN-resistant russets, funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. More

Major Dutch potato companies and organizations establish new research association

Ten Dutch potato companies as well as organizations have established a new association: Holland Innovative Potato (HIP), with the goal to facilitate research which leads to higher quality, yield and efficiency in the cultivation, transport and processing of the potato. The partnership also aims to provide insight in the genetics related to stable economic yield and quality. The members of HIP are Avebe, Aviko, Farm Frites, McCain, Lamb Weston Meijer, PepsiCo, Bejo, HZPC, Meijer and Solynta and the two trade organizations NAO (trade) and VAVI (processors). HIP wants to strengthen the potato’s importance as a third food crop (after wheat and rice) in the world.  Continue reading

Israeli scientists develop more nutritious, colorful potatoes

FeaturedImage_2017-08-24_Flickr_Purple_Potatoes_5087912635_3f0480714e_bAre you ready for violet-colored potatoes? How about orange tobacco? Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have figured out how to produce betalain pigments in plants and flowers that don’t normally have them. If you’re thinking, “Who needs violet tomatoes?” you should know that red-violet and yellow betalain pigments contain healthful antioxidant properties. They’re also the basis for natural food dyes for products such as strawberry yogurt. Antioxidant activity is 60 percent higher in betalain-producing tomatoes than in average ones, said Prof. Asaph Aharoni of Weizmann’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, who teamed up with Dr. Guy Polturak for the pigment research. “Our findings may in the future be used to fortify a wide variety of crops with betalains in order to increase their nutritional value,” he said. More

Canada: Cuban delegation eyeing Quebec potato varieties

Cuban Delegation Visits Seed Potato Companies in QuebecA Cuban delegation visited several seed potato companies in Quebec during August, visiting seed production fields, different types of mini-tuber production and in-vitro laboratory facilities in the province. It was the first time an official delegation from Cuba visited seed potato growers in Quebec. The visit was organized by Quebec based breeding, research and development company, Progest 2001 Inc. The Cuban delegation was headed by the National Director of Crops and also included members of the National Director of Seeds and the Potato Director of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Cuba (INCA). The delegation held several meetings with seed growers and seed companies across the province of Quebec. The delegation participated in a Potato Field Day organized by seed potato companies in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, evaluating potato varieties on display. (Further information from andre.gagnon@progest2001.com. Progrest 2001 website in French, English and Spanish)

Mexico: Zebra Chip-tolerant potatoes for the fresh market identified

Over the past few years, the potato production of US, Mexico, New Zealand and Central America has been under threat by Zebra Chip (ZC), a disease associated with the Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum bacteria, vectored by the potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli). The disease turns part of the amide in soluble sugars so, when potatoes are cooked, sugars caramelise and streaks appear. Of course ZC is currently monitored with pesticides, but sustainable defence requires the development of resistant and/or tolerant varieties. Entomologists from the University of California Riverside, together with researchers from INIFAP (Mexico), characterised four promising potato lines (246, 865, 510, NAU) exposed to Cls-positive adult psyllids and monitored the vector’s behaviour towards the plants and the effects of the bacteria on the tubers. The potato lines were compared to ZC-susceptible variety Atlantic. More

Bio-sector in the Netherlands band together in effort to find sustainable solution for potato late blight

In the Netherlands, Aldi and Lidl recently signed a covenant titled ‘Accelerated transition towards resistant/robust potato varieties’. Signees also include Albert Heijn and Jumbo Supermarkets. Superunie, the purchasing organization representing thirteen independent supermarket organizations in the Netherlands, intends to sign the covenant shortly. Potato seed companies who signed the covenant include Agrico, HZPC, C. Meijer, Plantera, Den Hartigh, Europlant, Danespo, Caithness Potatoes and Plantum. With this agreement, the biological sector wants to provide a sustainable response to the feared potato disease, late blight. Continue reading

Norway: NordGen potato collection accessions available for distribution

Rättviks röd (photo Simon Jeppson)

At present the NordGen potato collection consists of 72 varieties, breeding clones and landraces (local strains). For most of the accessions available for distribution, additional information can be found in the Nordic Potato Book (Potatisboken) produced by NordGen. Material from the NordGen in vitro potato collection are distributed on request all year round, depending of supply. The in vitro material is primarily for breeding, research and demonstration purposes. The available accessions can be found in the in vitro potato list. Multiplication of the material is often necessary before your request can be distributed, so please be aware that it might not be sent until some months after the request. Mini tubers are produced yearly from a subset of the collection and can be ordered by interested researchers, open-air museums, local history societies from February 1. Please contact Ulrika Carlson-Nilsson. You will then get information about availability and delivery time. (Source and further details: NordGen)

Canada: Varieties showing promise head to potato trials, buyers

More than 100 separate bushel baskets of potatoes were lined up on the grass at the Crop Diversification Centre South during the Centre’s annual field day held August 24 in Canada’s Alberta province. “Breeding is a long-term process which takes about 10 to 12 years to get to the market,” said Benoit Bizimungu, chief potato breeder with Agriculture Canada. “We start every single cycle with a really huge amount of different potato varieties…. We screen from 100,000 potential varieties every year. It’s a very long-term process but also a complex one. From that 100,000 we start every year, the expectation is to get hopefully one or two varieties.” Bizimungu said the potatoes on display at the field day are essentially an adaptation trial showing varieties selected at the research stage. The next step is to see how they adapt to different environments. “It’s the selection process that makes the difference,” said Alberta Agriculture potato research specialist Michele Konschuh. More

Potato mutants: Useless freaks or precious gems?

Mutations are naturally occurring phenomena in all living organisms. Most mutations are harmful in the organisms in which they occur. In seed-propagated crops, such harmful mutations – “freaks” – are often lost in the cycle of sexual reproduction and selection. Since the potato is commercially propagated by vegetative means, most mutations (also known as “sports”) that occur in the potato will be maintained. This can either be a bane or a blessing depending on the nature of the mutations. Some major potato cultivars have arisen as result of spontaneous mutation. Mutations can affect many different traits, but many mutations are not easily recognized. The most famous mutant potato cultivar is Russet Burbank, a russeted variant that arose from the smooth-skinned Burbank’s Seedling that was selected by Luther Burbank in 1874. More

The Creamer potato: Potatoes bred to be small


What is a Creamer potato? The Little Potato Company, based in Canada and also operating in the US, has built a business around the smallest potato in its family. It’s a unique combination of being naturally buttery tasting and bite-sized, resulting from the company’s specialized breeding program. They’re bred to be small, ranging from 19 – 41mm in size. “We’re focused solely on the breeding, growing, packaging and marketing of proprietary little Creamer potatoes,” said Shelley Henschel, marketing manager for The Little Potato Company. “It’s all we do!”  A lot of focus centres around constantly looking at packaging improvements, new flavors and new cooking techniques. The Creamer potatoes are grown in carefully selected areas across North America. “Potatoes are grown throughout the year to supply our grading and packaging facilities that are located in Alberta and Prince Edward Island, Canada, as well as, our new grading and packaging facility in DeForest, Wisconsin,” said Henschel. More

Solynta-aardappel vergt goede monitoring om resistenties te behouden

Image result for Solynta-aardappelSolynta heeft in 2 jaar een aardappel resistent gemaakt tegen phytophthora. Dat biedt kansen, maar onderzoekers van Wageningen Plant Research waarschuwen dat een zorgvuldige monitoring nodig is om de resistenties zo lang mogelijk te behouden. Senior-wetenschapper Jack Vossen van Wageningen Plant Research stelt dat er momenteel 7 gemakkelijk toepasbare resistentiegenen worden gebruikt in de veredeling om de aardappel weerbaarder te maken tegen de aardappelziekte. Ook Geert Kessel, onderzoeker gewasbescherming bij Wageningen Plant Research, waarschuwt voor een te snel opgebruiken van de beschikbare resistentiegenen. Meer