US: Two new Russet varieties to be released soon

Jeanne Debons, executive director of the Potato Variety Management Institute, with potato varieties under her organization’s management at the recent University of Idaho Potato Conference in Pocatello, Idaho. PVMI is releasing two new varieties — Castle Russet and Echo Russet.Two new spud varieties are coming soon to the Pacific Northwest. Echo Russet and Castle Russet — developed by the Tri-State Potato Breeding Program that includes Oregon, Washington and Idaho — are just about ready to be released commercially, according to Sagar Sathuvalli with Oregon State University. Sathuvalli, a potato breeder at OSU’s Hermiston Agricultural Research and Experiment Center, discussed the traits of each variety with local growers during the station’s annual potato field day Wednesday. Both varieties boast high yields and good cooking quality, and can be used either for french fries or fresh market. Echo Russet — named for the nearby town — and Castle Russet are about to cross that finish line. The Capital Press reports that the Potato Variety Management Institute, which handles licensing and royalties for Tri-State varieties, has decided to release the latest creations in December. In February, Capital Press reported that officials representing the Idaho, Oregon and Washington potato breeding programs say they’re releasing a pair of new russet varieties that should help position the industry to cope with more stringent regulations on soil fumigants. The new varieties are billed as medium- to late-maturing potatoes appropriate for use in both the fresh market and processing, also having good culinary qualities and cold sweetening resistance, so they fry with a light color even after months in storage. Read more

Researchers engineer heat tolerance in potato crops

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute and the University of St. Andrews have developed a technique to ‘engineer’ heat tolerance in potato crops, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties suited to the requirements of growers, industry and retailers. The potato crop is particularly vulnerable to increased temperature, which is considered to be the most important uncontrollable factor affecting growth and yield, according to the researchers. By comparing many different types of potato, scientists at the Institute have found a version of a gene involved in the heat stress response that is more active in potato types that can tolerant high temperature. The team went on to show that the switch that turns the protective gene on  is different in the heat tolerant types. More

Canada: 180 variétés de pommes de terre conservées à Fredericton

Banque de gènes des pommes de terreLa pomme de terre, ce tubercule abondamment consommé dans les provinces atlantiques bénéficie d’un statut particulier à Fredericton. La capitale néo-brunswickoise possède une banque mondiale de pommes de terre. Les petits plants et les tubercules sont conservés précieusement dans un environnement contrôlé, afin de garder ce patrimoine mondial de biodiversité. Tous ces tubercules sont préservés pour préserver la biodiversité, mais surtout pour protéger les pommes de terre des catastrophes naturelles. Les plants ou les tubercules sont conservés au Centre d’excellence du Canada en matière de recherches sur la pomme de terre de Fredericton et y sont présents en près de 200 variétés. Dans les réfrigérateurs on trouve des pommes de terre de type Batoche, Slovenian crescent et d’autres qui portent des noms qui rappellent les Maritimes. Rapport

UK: European agribusiness representatives visit Hutton Institute to establish potato links

German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce visitors (c) James Hutton LtdJames Hutton Limited, the James Hutton Institute’s commercial subsidiary, has welcomed two delegations of European visitors to the Institute’s Dundee site as part of efforts to share knowledge and ideas with a huge variety of interest groups across the globe. A group of 20 visitors from the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce visited the Institute as part of a market research trip to investigate the potato supply chain in the UK and Ireland. After a brief introduction to the Institute’s work, the delegation visited the Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), the UK’s genebank of landrace and wild potatoes, which is held in trust at the Dundee site. Similarly, a group of 25 members of FIWAP, a non-profit organisation responsible for the promotion and improvement of potatoes and seed potatoes in the southern Belgian area of Wallonia, visited the Institute’s site in Dundee to gain a close understanding of the Scottish potato seed and exporting industries  Continue reading

Nek-aan-nekrace tussen veredelaars en Phytophthora

Terwijl veredelingsbedrijven aardappelrassen ontwikkelen die resistent zijn tegen Phytophthora infestans, ontwikkelt de ziekteverwekker nieuwe agressieve stammen die zich snel over Europa verspreiden. Dat blijkt uit onderzoek van EuroBlight. Fytopatholoog Francine Govers is niet verbaasd. ‘Phytophthora is zo dynamisch.’ Gaan de nieuwe varianten de aardappeloogst aantasten? “Dat zal in de komende maanden blijken. We weten niet of de belangrijkste aardappelrassen resistent zijn tegen deze stammen. Dat kan per ras verschillen. De veredelaars vinden resistentie tegen Phytophthora belangrijk, maar nog belangrijker vinden ze de opbrengst, kleur en smaak van de aardappel.” Meer

US: Omnibus bill increases potato breeding funds

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate recently passed a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that funds the government through the end of September. The conference report includes an increase in the NIFA Potato Breeding Research line item to $2.25 million. During the Potato D.C. Fly-In, National Potato Council (NPC) attendees advocated for $2.25 million to be included in the final agreement. NPC is pleased that the requested amount for this appropriations cycle was included. “Funding from the Potato Research Special Grants has supported the development of varieties that have improved levels of resistance to pests of concern including late blight, early blight and potato cyst nematodes, and improved market quality,” said NPC CEO John Keeling. “This increase will further help the industry address emerging pests and diseases.” (Source: National Potato Council Insider Report)

US: Genetically engineered potatoes approved for Maine

Impact of late blight disease on rows of conventional potatoes (left) and Innate™ Gen 2 potatoes (right) in Michigan as seen in this Nov 2015 photo.With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control unanimously approved earlier this month the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company. The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight. But genetically modified crops have been controversial in the past. Critics of the process say that won’t be any different for the Simplot potatoes, the second generation to be sold under the brand name Innate, although company officials say otherwise. More

Texas A&M to make designer potatoes to increase consumption

(Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Research)The Texas A&M AgriLife Research is making designer potatoes to increase potatoes consumption. “The average consumption in the U.S. is 113 pounds per year per person. But overall potato consumption in the U.S. has generally declined somewhat.” said Dr. Creighton Miller, a potato breeder with Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Miller said the objective of the Texas A&M potato breeding program is to develop improved varieties adapted specifically to Texas environmental conditions. “So what we are doing now is developing unique varieties that have a tendency to appeal to the younger set with high income who are willing to try something different,” he said. One type is a small potato, he said, adding that within the trials he is looking for varieties with a heavy set of small potatoes. More

Italy: Is this the potato of the future?

Agrico’s PK060108 variety might be the perfect new potato selection for Romagna. This option was discussed on 29th May 2017 in San Mauro Pascoli (Forlì-Cesena) during a technician day held at azienda agricola Fratelli Tramonti, organised by Consorzio Agrario Adriatico. “The PK060108 selection from Agrico (Netherlands) had excellent performances. I believe we will hear its name again and again in the future,” explained Crea Bologna researcher Bruno Parisi. More

Simplot postpones commercial introduction of Innate GMO potatoes in Canada

Simplot postpones commercial introduction of Innate GMO potatoes in CanadaSimplot Plant Sciences will not commercially launch its Innate GMO potatoes in Canada this year, despite regulatory approval and interest among potato farmers to grow these new potatoes, according to a report by CBC News. Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications, said Simplot is holding off allowing commercial growth of Innate potatoes in Canada until there’s a proven market for them. According to Cole, “There is strong interest from the grower community and retailers are also interested.” But it’s a very involved purchase decision.” He said there are about five acres of test plots on Prince Edward Island this year and the mentioned that Simplot Plant Sciences has also test plots in Ontario and Manitoba. More

US: Genetically engineered potatoes approved for Maine

With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control unanimously approved on Friday morning the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company. The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight, the disease that caused the mid-19th century Irish Potato Famine and which remains a problem today. More

Potatoes grown from Dutch seeds may save Africa from hunger

Potatoes grown from Dutch seeds yield two to four times bigger harvests for small-scale, poor farmers in East Africa than potatoes grown using local seed potatoes. These findings are the result of initial tests using experimental varieties grown from potato seeds by Wageningen-based agro-tech company Solynta in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As such, potatoes grown from seeds may prove to be an effective means to provide not only the growing population of Africa, but also those of India, Bangladesh and China with more and better food, and thus contributes to reducing hunger. For several years now, Solynta has been working on breeding potatoes grown from the actual seeds of potato plants. This method allows one to develop new varieties of potatoes faster, varieties that are better able to withstand potato blights, in turn making the use of pesticides obsolete. More

Canada: Researchers release 15 new potato varieties

New potatoes and green parsleyReds, a wedge with an edge, and a super storer are among this year’s new potato selections from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Red-skinned varieties made up half of the total selections that Ag Canada potato breeders released during their annual ‘release open house’. This includes a multi-purpose variety that shows promise for processing as wedges and as a traditional table potato. Breeders have also developed Russet selections that have a longer shelf life in cold storage while maintaining stable sugars, making them attractive new selections to french fry processors. In all, 15 potato selections were unveiled this year. Researchers are increasingly using DNA technology to identify genes and strands linked to favourable traits. This will lead to the development of germplasm with the potential for better yields, nutritional value, and cooking and processing qualities. More

Canada: Potato research, processing investment strong in Alberta

Potato research is firmly en-trenched at the Agriculture Canada Lethbridge Research Centre as production expands in the West.
Yves Plante, associate director, said the centre plans to maintain its scientists and researchers and is seeking to fill another research position dedicated to potato health.
“We are fully committed to maintaining the research activities at the centre here. It’s a huge investment, when we decide to add additional professional scientists to our team. It’s a significant commitment and funding is in place.”
On Feb. 15, the centre’s potato breeding and research department presented 15 new varieties of potatoes for evaluation by the industry. Southern Alberta potato production has given rise to establishment of several potato processors over the years. McCain and Lamb Weston have plants, as does Old Dutch and Frito-Lay. More

GVO-Kartoffeln wecken im ersten Jahr Hoffnung

Guter Einstand: In den letztjährigen Anbauversuchen von Agroscope zeigte die GVO-Linie H43-4k mit zwei Wildkartoffelgenen vollständige Krautfäuleresistenz (Bonitierung 1 bis 9). (Bild Susanne Brunner/Agroscope)Die gentechfreie Produktion gehört zu den Eckpfeilern von Schweizer Lebensmitteln. Die Forschung ist aber zugelassen und Agroscope ist hier unter anderem mit Kartoffeln aktiv. 2016 liefen am Standort Reckenholz erstmals im grösseren Rahmen Freilandversuche mit sogenannt cisgenen Kartoffeln, wie der zuständige Michael Winzeler anlässlich der VSKP-Mitgliederversammlung erläuterte. 
Das cisgene Kartoffel-Pflanzgut für die Versuche stammt von der holländischen Agraruniversität Wageningen. Cisgen ist es, weil nicht artfremde Gene sondern solche aus Wildkartoffeln ins Erbgut eingeschleust wurden. Beim stark umstrittenen BT-Mais und der ebenso heftig kritisierten Roundup-resistenten Soja hingegen hat man mit transgenen Methoden Bakteriengene in die Pflanze übertragen. 
Der Vorteil der Gentechnologie ist gemäss Winzeler der Zeitgewinn. Mehr

Breeder seeks healthy french fry

Overcooking french fries and potato chips produces a chemical called acrylamide that can be toxic and harmful to humans if eaten in large amounts. John Lu, an Agriculture Canada researcher who works at the Lethbridge Research Centre, is investigating acrylamide and how it can be reduced in tubers and potato products.
The chemical isn’t found in raw or fresh potatoes but it is formed when they are fried or subjected to certain types of processing. Scientists call it the Maillard reaction and it is the reason potato colour changes to golden, brown and eventually black. Lu is working to develop potato cultivars with low propensity to produce acrylamide when processed. More

New potato varieties for Spain and Portugal

Pepsur Marketing, a subsidiary of Pan European Potato Enterprise Limited, a company dedicated to the production and marketing of potatoes and seed potatoes, is introducing several new potato varieties to Spain and Portugal, where the company represents a.o. the potato companies IPM and Cygnet.  The Potato varieties Tornado, Fandango, Gatsby, La Strada, and Sunset are especially for the producing areas of Spain while Gatsby, La Strada, and Sunset are also intended for Portugal. More

Northern Caribbean University to be key player in national potato-growing project

Northern Caribbean University (NCU), an institution operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Jamaica for the implementation of the in-vitro propagation of Irish potato seed program. The MoU was signed between NCU, the Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, and the Scientific Research Council, in Kingston, on January 25. The institutions will use NCU’s laboratory to help facilitate the production of 800,000 Irish potato tissue culture plantlets with micro tubers. The program will be funded with more than US $141,500 during the next 12 months. Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda, said the initiative will drastically reduce the import bill on Irish potatoes. More

Canada: Une quinzaine de nouvelles variétés de pommes de terre à l’honneur à Fredericton au N.-B.

Des pommes de terre d'apparences variéesElle sont rondes, allongées, rouges, blanches et parfois même violettes. Ces pommes de terre font partie des quinze nouvelles variétés que l’équipe du centre de recherche et de développement de Fredericton à Nouveau-Brunswick a présenté mercredi lors de sa journée portes ouvertes. Cette année la moitié des nouvelles pommes de terre proposées sont des variétés à peau rouge. Dans ce secteur de recherche il faut voir venir à l’avance les modes et les tendances de l’industrie et du marché parce qu’il faut compter plusieurs années avant la mise en marché. Les nouvelles variétés à peau rouge cumulent plusieurs qualités alors que les variétés de Russet qui ont été développées ont une plus longue durée de conservation en entrepôt et des niveaux de sucre qui demeurent stables, ce qui les rend intéressantes pour les fabricants de frites. Rapport

Canada: Red-skinned potato varieties lead selections by breeders

Red-skinned potatoes are sure to be on the minds and menus of many after remarkable results shown by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s selections this year. Red-skinned varieties made up half of the total selections AAFC breeders released to industry during the annual Potato Selection Release Open House on Wednesday. For the first time, the program will unveil a multi-purpose red-skinned selection, showing promise for processing as wedges and as a traditional table potato. In all, 15 selections were displayed this year by the AAFC breeding program for industry representatives. The selections were narrowed down from more than 100,000 hybrid seedlings grown, tested and measured over six years in AAFC greenhouses, laboratories and fields across Canada. For close to two decades, the province has participated in variety variation with the federal government by hosting regional trial sites. More

Oude wetgeving remt ontwikkeling aardappelteelt

aardappelrassenZolang aardappelveredelaars geen gebruik mogen maken van technieken als cisgenese of Crispr Cas, dreigt de Europese aardappelsector internationaal de boot te missen, zegt Backx. Hij sprak gisteren op de themadag Aardappelen van Landbouwbeurs Noord- en Centraal Nederland (LNCN) in Dronten over de noodzaak van nieuwe veredelingstechnieken. ‘De huidige wetgeving in Nederland en Europa ten aanzien van genetische modificatie (gmo) sluit niet aan bij de technische ontwikkelingen in de veredeling’, vindt Backx. Hij wijst erop dat de genetische vooruitgang van de aardappel slechts 0,1 procent bedraagt uitgaande van de klassieke veredeling. Voor de suikerbiet is dit 2 procent. ‘De aardappel verliest aansluiting bij veel andere landbouwgewassen, en wordt daardoor naar verhouding steeds duurder om te telen.’ Wat Backx betreft zou de wetgeving onderscheid moeten maken tussen het gebruik van soorteigen en vreemd DNA. ‘We zijn in staat om met eigen DNA bestaande rassen te verbeteren door rechtstreeks resistenties in te kruisen. Met Crispr Cas is het mogelijk om negatieve opbrengstgenen via gerichte mutaties te elimineren. Wij roepen de politiek op om juist deze technieken snel toe te laten.’ Meer

HZPC overweegt gen-onderzoek buiten de EU te doen

Image result for hzpcHZPC overweegt het onderzoek met nieuwe veredelingstechnieken te verplaatsen naar buiten de EU. Volgens het pootgoedhandelshuis lopen de EU-regels achter bij de technische ontwikkelingen. In het buitenland kan HZPC veel sneller genetische vooruitgang boeken in de veredeling dan in de EU, omdat daar nieuwe gen-technieken zoals cisgenese en Crispr-Cas wel zijn toegestaan. Volgens HZPC-directeur Gerard Backx overweegt het bedrijf alleen verplaatsing van onderzoek met nieuwe gen-technieken. “De rest van ons onderzoek blijft in Nederland.” De regels voor gentechnieken lopen achter op wat al mogelijk is, zei Backx woensdag op de aardappeldag in Dronten, van de landbouwbeurs LNCN. Meer

Canada: In search of better chippers, wedgers and mashers

20170215 Tatters roThere were a lot of new potato varieties to choose from at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Potato Selection Release Open House. This was the second year the Ontario release has been held in Guelph. Every year, federally sponsored plant scientists come up new strains of tatters. A few weeks in advance of the planting season, those varieties and the scientific evidence related to them are put on display. Growers then have the option to test them out. Vanessa Currie is a research technician with U of G’s potato research program. She was on-hand at the release. The potato industry, she said, is varied and always changing. There are table potatoes and chipping potatoes, potatoes that make optimal French fries and those that make the best wedges. This year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is excited by the new varieties of red potatoes. One new line is testing well as a wedge contender, and another has improved cold storage capacities. Red-skinned varieties made up about half of the total selections at the open house.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Our potato varieties have something for everyone

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Our potato varieties have something for everyoneWith names like AAC Poppy, AAC Glossy, and AAC Red Viola – today’s marketplace for spuds is no longer as simple as “you say PO-TAY-TOE, I say PO-TAH-TOE.” These potatoes are among the more than 30 varieties developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) that are currently under license by the Canadian industry for sale to domestic and international markets. The process of identifying potato selections that have the potential to deliver on industry needs takes six years to complete before they are shared with the potato industry through AAFC’s Accelerated Release Program. Only a few star performers make the cut each year out of more than 100,000 candidates. Ten to fifteen of the best of the best selections developed by the AAFC breeding program are unveiled to industry during a special annual Potato Release Open House event, held simultaneously at different locations across the country. More

University of Idaho to grow nuclear potato seed program

Matt Roth, left, the new greenhouse manager for the University of Idaho’s nuclear potato seed program, and the program’s manager, Jenny Durrin, work on mini-tuber production. Durrin was recently hired and Roth was recently made full-time, and UI has plans to expand the program’s production.   University of Idaho has hired a new director for its nuclear seed potato program and plans to build additional facilities to help her expand production. The planned investments; which include construction of a new greenhouse and laboratory; would move the university toward its long-term goal of becoming a national repository for potato germplasm. Jenny Durrin filled the director position vacated when Lorie Ewing retired last July. She conducted research in potato virus Y resistance in common Idaho cultivars while obtaining her masters degree in plant science under UI virologist Alex Karasev, and she spent two years studying pale cyst nematode at the university. UI also promoted a part-time worker, Matt Roth, to be the program’s full-time greenhouse manager. The self-sufficient nuclear seed program maintains more than 300 potato crosses; including experimental lines, public and private varieties and the Potato Variety Management Institute’s entire collection. Capital Press report