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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #427612

Research Project: Developing Potatoes with Superior Disease Resistance and Phytonutrients

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Project Number: 2092-21220-002-03-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2014
End Date: Jun 30, 2019

This research aims to develop potatoes with superior disease resistance and phytonutrient content, along with developing a better understanding of how management and environment mediate potato’s disease resistance and nutritional value. Targets for nutritional enhancement will include phenylpropanoids and carotenoids, compounds known to have multiple health-promoting benefits. The largely untapped genetic diversity among primitive potato germplasm and wild species will be utilized as a gene source for soil-borne pathogen resistance and nutritional enhancement. We will develop superior germplasm or management options for Columbia root-knot nematode and soil-borne pathogens including powdery scab, potato mop top virus, black dot, and corky ringspot, and examine the role of macro/micronutrients and other compounds in host resistance to Verticillium wilt. Developing potatoes with enhanced amounts of phytonutrients, superior disease resistance and improved disease management strategies are important needs of the potato industry that will help ensure sustainability, profitability and a safe, healthy food supply, while reducing pesticide usage and providing consumers additional healthy choices.

This project will focus on these issues in field, lab and greenhouse studies, using a combination of genetics, breeding, physiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, plant pathology and virology. Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography and gene expression studies will be used to profile diverse germplasm and breeding lines to characterize qualitative and quantitative differences in compounds that may have health-promoting properties or roles in host resistance. Germplasm with the traits of interest will be identified and intercrossed. Crosses will be made in the greenhouse and the progeny evaluated in field trials around the Northwest conducted with collaborators. Breeding material will be screened for resistance to important diseases and for nutritional value. Additional greenhouse trials will focus on the interaction between in-furrow applications of macro/micronutrients and other compounds on infection severity and plants will be rated for their resistance to Verticillium wilt and other pathogens.