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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #434912

Research Project: Developing Methods to Protect Potato Quality, Yields and Profitability.

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Project Number: 2092-21220-002-020-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2018
End Date: Mar 31, 2023

Collectively this research aims to protect potato quality, yields and profitability by addressing factors that can negatively impact potatoes including tobacco rattle virus, Globodera pallida, emerging diseases and glycoalkaloids.

: A combination of lab and field research will be utilized to mitigate the problems posed by tobacco rattle virus, Globodera pallida, emerging diseases and glycoalkaloids. Potatoes in the Columbia basin have been showing unusual symptoms for the last few years including leaf distortion and purpling. We will closely monitor the 2018 potato crop, looking for occurrence of these symptoms and attempting to identify whether the cause is a pest or pathogen. Grafting and molecular diagnostic analysis will be conducted on symptomatic plants. Litchi tomato is a trap crop that can be used to induce a suicide hatch of the quarantine potato pest, Globodera pallida and thus help mitigate its persistence in fields. We will grow several acres of a synthetic variety developed in our program and evaluate its agronomic characteristics. Glycoalkaloids can be toxic at higher concentrations and their presence can cause issues with exports and result in the rejection of shipments. We will use biochemical and molecular methods to try to identify factors that influence tuber greening and glycoalkaloid increases, along with genes that predispose a genotype towards spikes in glycoalkaloid concentrations. Potatoes from the same seed lots will be planted in multiple states, under different environmental conditions. Other potatoes will be exposed to light and greening measured. Potatoes showing marked differences in glycoalkaloid content in response to environment will be used to look for differences in gene expression that might explain why some potatoes are more prone to spiking or greening than other potatoes. Tobacco rattle virus causes internal discoloration of potatoes and appears to be an increasing problem. We will examine the relationship between cultivar, viral titer and symptoms using RT-PCR. Different sampling methods will be compared to determine which most accurately quantitate the disease. Transmission of TRV from mother tubers of varying symptoms and titers to daughter tubers will be studied using RT-PCR and visual scoring using established methods.