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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Genetic Improvement for Fruits & Vegetables Laboratory » Research » Research Project #440520

Research Project: Assessing Heat Tolerance in the Field to Direct Variety Development

Location: Genetic Improvement for Fruits & Vegetables Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21000-283-028-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 30, 2022

The short-term goal of this research is to identify potato varieties with an exceptional ability to tolerate heat stress. These varieties will be selected for use as parents in the larger effort to develop potato varieties for the Southeastern U.S. The exceptional varieties will be identified through a replicated field trial which mimics commercial growing conditions. This is critical to ensure that the results from this study will translate directly to growers’ field in this region.

In order to accomplish the objectives of this proposal, a replicated field trial will be conducted in Florida. This field trial will build off preliminary work assessing heat tolerance in 2019. In the 2019 trial, 118 varieties were planted in a replicated field trial with 2 planting dates. The second planting date was approximately 3 to 4 weeks later than the first and was treated as the heat stressed planting date. The data from this trial will be used to identify the best 25 lines that were evaluated for heat stress in 2019. The 25 best lines will be supplemented by 100 additional lines from the USDA’s American variety collection and/or the US genebank in Sturgeon Bay, WI. These 125 lines will be planted at 2 planting dates approximately 4 weeks apart. The harvest dates will also be 4 weeks apart, and the difference in performance between the early and late plantings will be used to identify the excellent heat tolerant varieties. The trial will be organized into a randomized complete block design with 3 replications. Each plot will consist of ten seed pieces spaced at 8 inches apart. During the growing season, data will be collected for stand count and maturity. After harvest, data will be collected for total yield, graded yield based on the ABC size classification, specific gravity, tuber shape, skin and flesh color, and overall appearance.