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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Vegetable Crops Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Acquire, conserve and distribute worldwide a broad diversity of potato genetic resources and associated information. Sub-objective 1.A. Strategically expand genebank holdings of potato cultivars, genetic stocks for anti-oxidants, tomatine glycoalkaloids, pigment and floral mutants, and wild relatives of potato from the southwestern United States. Sub-objective 1.B. Conserve more than 5,600 accessions of potato and its wild relatives by regenerating annually 100 seed populations, 900 in vitro clones, and 70 tuber families of potato and its wild relatives. Sub-objective 1.C. Distribute on request potato genetic resources and information that meet the specific needs of researchers and breeders, each year updating Web page and notices transmitted to e-mail list of cooperators. Objective 2: Strategically incorporate high-quality, comprehensive, priority phenotypic (evaluation) data for potato genetic resources into GRIN and/or other databases. Sub-objective 2.A. Incorporate into GRIN and/or other databases phenotypic (evaluation) data from cooperator’s (D. Spooner) literature review and other evaluation data which subsequently become available from published and unpublished sources. Sub-objective 2.B. Incorporate phenotypic (evaluation) data from “in-house” studies of vigor; late blight resistance; gibberellin mutants; and tuber anti-oxidants, acidity, calcium, potassium, and anti-cancer PCI into GRIN and/or other databases.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Access new germplasm as donations from other genebanks/programs, mutants selected in house, collection trips in the southwest USA. Propagation status and health will be monitored with a computer database. Botanical seed accessions will be propagated in virus-free green- and screenhouses. All new acquisitions will be quarantined until proven clean. Seed moisture and storage temperatures will be maintained at known optima, with confirming germination tests on each accession at least every five years. We will grow and intermate 20 parent plants of each seed increase accession to replenish inventory and/or germination. Germplasm orders and requests for information will be processed within one week of receipt. Engage in outreach activities to professional meetings and use webpage to assess distribution effectiveness. Identify pertinent publications, sift for evaluation data, and incorporate into GRIN. Summarize and format data from in house characterization projects. Publish results of novel evaluation studies in peer reviewed journals and present as talks or posters at professional society meetings as appropriate. Finally, advertise availability to germplasm user group.

3. Progress Report:
Availability of potato germplasm is important to the progress of basic research and breeding. In 2012, the genebank at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in cooperation with worldwide collaborators, continued filling this need by collecting and distributing (free of charge), viable and disease free stocks to all those who requested it, and evaluating and documenting valuable traits: Genebank staff collected germplasm at novel sites in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, capturing 32 new populations for the genebank. We increased 217 seed populations, performed 500 potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) disease tests, 1433 germination tests, 31 ploidy determinations, and 30 tetrazolium seed viability tests. We selected orange-fleshed stocks from hybrids of S. phureja based on taste, appearance and cooking quality evaluated by a native Colombian (FL) familiar with the ideal for traditional papa criolla. We continued evaluation of microdontum, a species with a remarkable array of useful traits, this year doing work to show that resistance to illuminated tuber greening is highly heritable. In cooperation with researchers, we selected yellow-fleshed clones from populations known to have low sugars, which were selected for those able to make a processed product not dependent on high-acrylamide (a carcinogen) frying conditions for acceptable color. About 7,000 units of germplasm were sent in about 200 orders to clients in 34 states of the United States and 20 foreign countries.

4. Accomplishments
1. New potato nutritional information. Diverse stocks kept at the United States Potato Genebank, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, hold promise for improving nutritional value of potato. In FY2012, screening of such stocks by ARS researchers at Sturgeon Bay found unique individuals in a wild species exhibiting more than eight fold the previously-known level of a safe and natural appetite suppressant that could be very helpful in combating obesity. We also found stocks with over four-fold the folate content of standard varieties, which are now being used in breeding to transfer the traits into the background of a practical new cultivar. Discovery of potato stocks with extremely high levels of healthful compounds opens the door to breeding new potato varieties that 1) help control appetite and thus help reduce the obesity epidemic in the United States, a problem with estimated annual United States cost of $300 billion and 2) reduce folate insufficiency which is associated with increased heart disease, neural tube birth defects, cancer, mental impairment due to heavy metal toxicity, and poor efficacy of anti-depression medication.

Review Publications
Bamberg, J.B., Miller, J.C. 2012. Comparisons of ga1 with other reputed gibberellin mutants in potato. American Journal of Potato Research. 89:142-149.

Bamberg, J.B., Del Rio, A.H. 2011. Diversity relationships among wild potato collections from seven “Sky Island” mountain ranges in the Southwest USA. American Journal of Potato Research. 88(6):493-499.

Bamberg, J.B., Del Rio, A.H., Penafiel, J. 2011. Successful prediction of genetic richness at wild potato collection sites in southeastern Arizona. American Journal of Potato Research. 88(5):398-402.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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