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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #439794

Research Project: Improving Potato Performance and Quality through Breeding and Management

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Project Number: 2092-21220-003-010-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 30, 2024

Develop or identify superior new potato cultivars or establish management strategies that improve quality and performance of cultivars in the Pacific Northwest potato producing regions. The focus will be on developing new cultivars or management practices that improve cultivar quality, especially for disease resistance, sustainability, nutritional value and reduced inputs. Most potatoes are kept in cold-storage for extended times after harvest, so we will also develop management methods that maximize post-harvest quality of cultivars. In-season heat stress can have a severe effect on tuber quality. We will attempt to ameliorate the potential negative impact of heat stress by identifying genotypes that are resistant and by developing management methods that reduce the impact.

Breeding lines will be generated at Prosser and tested in field trials at Othello and Prosser and in storage studies at Washington State University. Advanced breeding lines and cultivars from the Prosser program or the TriState Breeding Program will be evaluated for commercial suitability. Cultivars will be grown in WA in early- and late-harvest trials to assess suitability for the fresh and process markets and adaptability to the NW climate and potential climate change. Disease resistance, nutritional value, sustainability and storability will be among the quality traits evaluated. Upon harvest, total and marketable yields will be assessed for each treatment using an electronic potato sizer at the WSU research facilities. Rot and defects (i.e. bruise and skinning) will be quantified utilizing USDA standard protocols for visual quality defects. Potatoes will then be sorted for postharvest evaluations to further assess the treatment impacts on the degree of physiological maturity (PM). Specific metrics for PM will include carbohydrate quantification, respiration analyses and comparative peridermal differences. The degree in which internal defects are impacted by heat stress will be determined by developing a lab-based postharvest heat treatment assay to assess the potential of hollow heart/blackheart formation. This assay will be developed using numerous additional cultivars which capture the reported range of resistance and susceptibility to these disorders.