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ARS Releases New Pest-Resistant SweetpotatoBy Hank Becker
November 16, 2000
Ruddy, a new sweetpotato with excellent baking quality and flavor, has been released by the Agricultural Research Service. Ruddy is the first red-skinned, orange-fleshed sweetpotato with resistance to multiple pests--insects, diseases and nematodes--released from the ARS breeding program.
Ruddy was developed by ARS geneticist Janice R. Bohac and ARS entomologist D. Michael Jackson at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory, Charleston, S.C., working with researchers at the South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, Clemson University.
Medium-orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes like Ruddy contain very high levels of the key nutrient beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. One medium-sized sweetpotato provides more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin A--as well as high levels of fiber, vitamin C and folic acid.
Ruddy produces high yields and keeps well under long-term storage. It is highly resistant to the larvae of several soil insects--the southern potato wireworm, tobacco wireworm, banded and striped cucumber beetles, elongate flea beetle, and the pale striped flea beetle. Ruddy is more susceptible to white grub larvae than the insect-resistant cultivar Regal, but is highly resistant to Fusarium wilt and to two races of the southern root-knot nematode.
Small quantities of foundation seed roots, sprouts and cuttings of Ruddy will be available to researchers for the 2001 crop season. By then, genetic material should be available from the Sweetpotato Clonal Repository at Griffin, Ga.
ARS is the chief scientific research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.