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Feds Invest In Potato Research And Development

Scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick will lead an international research effort to give potato farmers a technological edge in predicting and preventing yield losses in their fields and in storage.

Researchers from Canada, France and New Zealand will use new discoveries about potato DNA, microbial life in the soil and insect behavior to find better ways to measure the health and quality of potato plants and tubers.

On March 17 the federal government announced it would invest $1.83 million in the project. Industry partners (BioNB, Comité Nord Plants des Pommes de Terre, Quebec-based potato operations Ferme Daniel Bolduc Inc. and Maxi-Sol Inc., Plant and Food Research New Zealand, Potatoes New Brunswick and France-based company CCL) will contribute $821,800.

Researchers will use a new generation of powerful computer-based gene sequencers to identify genes in potato DNA that indicates when the plant experiences stress. The objective is to utilize these genes as markers for diagnostic tools on the farm.

DNA sequencing will also be used to identify the billions of species of microbial life in the soil and to study their impact on potato common scab.