Meet the Researchers
Wednesday, January 10
PAA Poster Session, Expo Hall
Building a Better Potato – Tuber Greening Resistant
Noelle L Anglin – Research Leader, USDA ARS Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research
Green potatoes are not desirable by consumers nor the potato industry. However, tubers frequently will turn green after exposure to light. Solanum microdontum (mcd) resists tuber greening. Therefore, a population was created between tuber-greening resistant mcd and cultivated potato to study the genetics of resistance to greening and the accumulation of tuber glycoalkaloids. This population is also being evaluated for frost resistance, dormancy, and photoperiod characteristics. The overarching goal is to develop russet potatoes that resist greening after exposure to light through laboratory techniques and breeding by capturing desired genes \ traits and move them into advanced lines.
Exploring the Benefits and Challenges of Twin-Row Planting in Northern Maine
Bee Khim Chim, Assistant Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
The demand for sustainable agriculture practices has increased significantly in recent years due to global population growth and the need to maximize food production while minimizing resource consumption. The study investigates twin-row potato planting in Northern Maine, focusing on optimizing land use efficiency. This method, involving closely spaced double rows of potato plants, enhances yield per unit area by maximizing soil nutrients, water utilization, and chemical consumption. Twin-row planting boosts productivity while minimizing environmental impact, presenting a promising avenue for sustainable agriculture. However, further research is necessary to evaluate its long-term effects and applicability across various agro-climatic conditions.
Role of Nitric Oxide in Potato Tuber Wound Healing Processes
Munevver Dogramaci, Research Plant Physiologist. USDA-ARS, Sugarbeet and Potato Research Unit, Fargo, ND
Rapid wound-healing (WH) of cut seed tubers and tubers injured/bruised during and after harvest is critical for the potato industry. Under ideal conditions, potato tubers can naturally heal some of these wounds. Nitric-oxide (NO) plays a major role in the WH mechanisms of living cells. We examined the potential modulatory role of NO in potato tuber WH processes, by using a model wounding system and treating wounded tissues with different NO related chemicals (donors, inhibitors, scavengers). Our results indicate that NO plays a critical role in WH processes and can be optimized as a potential treatment for accelerating WH responses.
Increasing the Resilience of Potato Production to Combat Climate Change
David Douches, Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University
Potato production is sensitive to heat stress. This sensitivity contributes to the vulnerability of US potato production to climate change, including projected increases in temperature more frequent heatwaves. Storage, a key stage of potato production prior to marketing, is also vulnerable to climate change. Maintaining tuber quality through the storage period is essential to grower profitability. Our overarching goal is to increase the resiliency of US potato production to climate change. We are conducting research to increase the resiliency of US potato production through the identification, development, and implementation of stress mitigation and adaptation tools (e.g., new management options, potato varieties with greater resilience) during production and storage stages. We conducted a set of field and storage studies that benchmark elite cultivars under variable heat stress conditions during the 2021-23 growing seasons.
Systems Approach to Nematode Control in U.S. Potatoes
Louise-Marie Dandurand, Professor, University of Idaho
Our trans-disciplinary project to control nematodes that threaten potatoes brings together researchers, extension educators, and industry. Through better diagnostics, development of decision support systems, improved understanding and development of plant resistance, and purification and identification of novel chemistries from solanaceous plants this research is assisting the potato industry to manage of nematode infestations for increased crop productivity. In our second year of the PAPAS project (Potatoes and Pests, Actionable Science against Nematodes), we will provide an update on our achievements.
New Potato Varieties from the University of Wisconsin
Becky Eddy, Research Program Manager, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison potato breeding program has a diverse set of new varieties available for commercialization. Portage Russet is a 2021 graduate of the National Fry Processing Trial with high yields, attractive tubers, excellent fry quality, and medium-late maturity. Small hollow heart lesions have been observed in oversize tubers in some environments. W13103-2Y is a high-yielding and attractive yellow variety with medium maturity, resistance to hollow heart, and common scab resistance. Indigold is a round specialty variety with purple skin and yellow flesh. Our new fingerling Andi has a unique appearance: yellow skin and deep eyes with red splashes.
Insights into Soil Health in U.S. Potato Production Systems
Kenneth Frost, Associate Professor, Oregon State University Department of Botany and Plant Pathology & Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center
This poster will contain data and results from a large, collaborative USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative project conducted in all major potato-producing states to identify indicators of soil health and develop management strategies that will enhance soil health in potato production systems. In this work, we combined small-plot experimental research with on-farm sampling of soils to see how the use of different agricultural practices affect soil health, the soil microbiota, and crop yield and quality. This research will help us better understand what soil health means on potato farms and which approaches are effective at improving soil health.
Weight Loss In Storage Due to Physical Damage Sustained at Harvest
Rabecka Hendricks, Research Associate, University of Idaho
A two-year study was conducted to examine how physical damage at harvest affects weight loss in storage. Russet Norkotah, Clearwater Russet, and Russet Burbank tubers were impacted with a 3.5 oz steel weight 0, 4, or 8 times at harvest to provide varying levels of shatter bruises. Tubers were stored at 45F and evaluated for weight loss. Looking at total weight loss in storage, tubers lost an additional 0.5% in storage if physically damaged at harvest. The majority of that additional loss was seen after the first month. Physical damage sustained at harvest contributes to the overall loss in storage.
Highlights from the Potato Virus Initiative: Developing Solutions
Alexander V. Karasev, Professor, University of Idaho
The federally funded research and extension project “Potato Virus Initiative: Developing Solutions” focused on developing virus management strategies to produce a sustainable, profitable, and high quality potato crop. The two viruses being studied are potato virus Y (PVY) and potato mop top virus (PMTV). The main objectives include improvements in virus detection and potato certification, in in-season spread management, in search for and introgression of new resistance sources, and ways to access and disseminate the data among growers and industry personnel.
Using Drones for High Resolution Field-Scale Trial Monitoring in Potatoes
Evan MacDonald, PhD Student, University of Prince Edward Island
Traditional methods of counting plants and analyzing spacing are laborious and result in significantly lower sample numbers compared to those carried out using drones and image processing software. In this study from Prince Edward Island, Canada in 2021-2023, we used drones to capture high resolution imagery in several fields with plant spacing trials. Information revealed from drone imagery provided insight into how accurate a grower’s planter performed, how planter modifications could result in more accurate spacing, how variable rate seeding and fertilizer applications performed vs uniform applications, and more.
Interaction Between Rhizoctonia Solani Anastomosis Group and Fungicide on Stem Canker and Tuber Black Scurf
Jeff Miller, Miller Research
Field trials were conducted in 2021 and 2022 in southern Idaho to evaluate the efficacy of three different fungicides for the control of different anastomosis groups (AG) of the Rhizoctonia canker and black scurf pathogen. In 2021, both AG 3-PT and 2-1 caused more severe canker than AG 4 HG-II. No interaction was observed between AGs and fungicides. In 2022, only AG 3-PT caused severe stem canker and the interaction between AG and fungicide was not significant. Common fungicides currently used for managing Rhizoctonia are equally effective against the most common R. solani AGs found in southern Idaho.
Breeding for Resistance to Potato Cyst Nematode in the Russet Market Class
Rich Novy, Potato Breeder/Research Geneticist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service
Two species of potato cyst nematode (Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida) have been identified in the U.S. and are under quarantine regulations, with a third identified species (G. ellingtonae) not categorized as a quarantined pest. Management of G. rostochiensis in the state of New York includes the use of resistant potato varieties, none of which represent the russet market class. Resistance to G. pallida is not present in the primary russet varieties grown in the U.S. Our progress in developing russet germplasm with resistance to the three Globodera species is described.
An Update on the Status of SDHI Mutations Affecting Alternaria solani, the Early Blight Pathogen
Sunil Shrestha, Ohud Alam, Ipsita Mallik, Neil C. Gudmestad, and Julie S. Pasche
Growers rely heavily on the application of foliar fungicides for the management of early blight. Resistance to single-site mode-of-action fungicides has plagued pathogens in the species Alternaria for decades. We have uncovered novel mutations in the Sdh gene of A. solani, and identified some isolates with more than one mutation. In vitro fungicide sensitivity results were supported by greenhouse evaluations conducted across a range of fungicide concentrations. These results aid in our understanding of fungicide resistance development, and our ability to make sound scientific grower recommendations.
Turkey Manure Can Reduce Synthetic Fertilizer for Russet Burbank
Andy Robinson, Extension Potato Agronomist and Associate Professor, North Dakota State University / University of Minnesota
There are concerns of increasing nitrates in water because of high amounts of synthetic fertilizers used in potato production. Utilizing a natural and local source of fertilizer, turkey manure compost can be used to provide a sustainable option for potato production that could benefit soil health. The aim of this study was to compare different amounts of turkey manure compost with and without Environmentally Smart Nitrogen (ESN) on Russet Burbank potato production. Turkey manure compost was a good source of nitrogen and reduced the need for synthetic fertilizers while maintaining high yield.
Storage Requirements for Dakota Russet
R. Rhett Spear, Assistant Professor/Potato Variety Development Specialist, University of Idaho
Storage best management practices for Dakota Russet to maintain processing quality throughout long-term storage.
Effect of Curing Temperatures on the Quality of ‘Clearwater Russet’ Potatoes
Gustavo Henrique de Almeida Teixeira, Assistant Professor and Potato Postharvest Specialist, University of Idaho, Kimberly Research and Extension Center
General recommendations are to cure potatoes between 50 to 55F and 95% RH for 14 days. However, the industry has recently questioned the impact of curing potatoes at a lower temperature of 50°F, rather than 55°F, would have on processing quality. In 2023, curing ‘Clearwater Russet’ potatoes at 50°F did not affect respiration or weight loss over the 14-day curing period. However, sugars and fry color were affected, resulting in higher sugar content (0.051% glucose) and darker fry color (44.35% reflectance) than curing potatoes at 55°F (0.027% glucose – 49.32%). Decisions on curing temperatures can impact processing color.
Using Precision Agriculture Technologies in Potato Sustainable Nitrogen Management
Yi Wang, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin – Madison
The combination of hyperspectral remote sensing and machine learning has proven to be a potential approach in facilitating decision-making for precision farming. In this multi-year study spanning from 2018 to 2022, we utilized an extensive dataset comprising multiple growing seasons, various locations, a diverse range of potato varieties and different nitrogen rates. The study used hyperspectral data, that covered the full spectrum ranging from 400 to 2500 nm, over the course of each growing season to predict crop N status (indicated by petiole nitrate-N and whole leaf total N) and final tuber yield with R2 as high as 0.8.
Report on the North Carolina Early Generation Southern Selection Trials – 2017-2023
Yencho, G. C., Professor, North Carolina State University
Many studies have demonstrated the value of selecting lines earlier in the breeding cycle at multiple locations as cooperators at different locations may select and advance lines discarded in other locations. The Early Generation Southern Selection trial is designed to evaluate clones 1 – 2 cycles earlier than the National Chip Processors Trial capturing greater genetic diversity and increasing the likelihood of finding fresh, out-of-field chip lines for the south. Results for the early generation selection trial, initiated in North Carolina in 2017 with 11 potato breeding programs and supported by Potatoes USA, will be reported.