Researchers try producing potato resistant to climate change

University of Maine researchers are attempting to produce potatoes that may higher face up to warming temperatures because the climate modifications.

Warming temperatures and an prolonged rising season can lead to high quality issues and illness, Gregory Porter, a professor of crop ecology and administration, informed the Bangor Daily News.

“The predictions for climate change are heavier rainfall occasions, and potatoes don’t tolerate flooding or moist situations for lengthy without having different high quality issues,” Porter stated. “If we wish potatoes to be continued to be produced efficiently in Maine, we want to find a way to produce varieties that may be resistant to change.”

Around the world, analysis aimed toward mitigating crop injury is underway. A NASA examine printed this month instructed climate change might have an effect on the manufacturing of corn and wheat, with corn yields projected to decline whereas wheat may see potential development, as quickly as 2030 underneath a excessive greenhouse gasoline emissions situation.

Maine is coming off of a banner potato crop thanks partially to the success of the Caribou russet, which was developed by UMaine researchers. But Porter fears that even that selection isn’t as warmth tolerant as essential to resist the longer term results of climate change.

Pests are one other issue. The Colorado potato beetle and disease-spreading aphids have flourished with the altering climate, stated Jim Dill, pest administration specialist on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Breeding seemingly small modifications like hairier leaves that make it troublesome for bugs to transfer round on the plant can minimize down on pests’ destruction and likewise the necessity for pesticides, he stated.

Breeding such traits into potatoes is a protracted strategy of cross-pollinating totally different potato varieties. The course of is nicely underway.

They’re in a analysis testing part proper now at websites all through the United States. Test potatoes in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida are testing excessive temperature stress.

“It takes 10 years of choice after that preliminary cross pollination, and it’d take two to 5 years earlier than sufficient business analysis has taken place to launch a brand new potato selection,” Porter stated.

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