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New Golden-Nematode-Resistant Potato Introduced

By Jennifer Arnold
October 10, 2001

A new potato that resists the golden nematode has been developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators. It is an important development because of the pest’s threat to the U.S. potato industry.

The golden nematode, Globodera rostochensis, is known to occur in several countries, especially in cooler areas of subtropical and tropical regions, as well as in temperate regions of the world. When uncontrolled, it can reduce potato yields by 80 percent. Currently, this tiny worm attacks the U.S. potato crop only in New York State.

The new nematode-resistant potato, developed by ARS plant pathologist Bill Brodie with Cornell University and Pennsylvania State University researchers, is named "Eva." It is being released by the New York and Pennsylvania Experiment Stations. Brodie is in the ARS Plant Protection Research Laboratory at Ithaca, N.Y.

The seedling generation from which Eva was selected was first grown in 1987. Between 1993 and 1999, 52 yield trials that included Eva were conducted at experiment stations in Ithaca and Riverhead, N.Y., at State College, Pa., and on farms in both states.

Eva is likely to be used for the tablestock market because of its outstanding: a bright, clear skin and attractive, round-to-oval shape. Tablestock potatoes are sold fresh, rather than as processed potatoes for chips and fries.

The new potato is well adapted to growing conditions in the Northeast. Another favorable feature of Eva is its freedom from internal defects. Less than one percent of Eva potatoes have hollow heart and internal necrosis.

Eva is available from foundation seed growers in New York, Pennsylvania and Maine.

Not only are potatoes an important part of the American diet, they are also a significant sector of the U.S. farm economy. Potatoes are worth $2.7 billion annually, which is 18 percent of all vegetable crop cash receipts. The typical American consumes more than 140 pounds of fresh and processed potatoes each year.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.