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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » Vegetable Crops Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #315919

Research Project: Potato Genetic Resource Management, Characterization, and Evaluation

Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Title: Making a case for breeding frost tolerant potatoes adapted to Andean Highlands especially the Altiplano

item PALTA, JIWAN - University Of Wisconsin
item Bamberg, John
item DEL RIO, ALFONSO - University Of Wisconsin

Submitted to: American Journal of Potato Research
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2015
Publication Date: 7/19/2015
Citation: Palta, J.P., Bamberg, J.B., del Rio, A. 2015. Making a case for breeding frost tolerant potatoes adapted to Andean Highlands especially the Altiplano. American Journal of Potato Research. Paper No. G48.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Although cultivated potatoes are sensitive to mild frost (severely damaged at air temperatures below -2 or -3 C) limited progress has been made in developing frost hardy cultivars. This may be due to the fact that most potato crop grown in North America and Europe has minimal risk to be subjected to killing frosts in the growing season. Chance of frost is limited to early spring when potato plants can regrow and have good chances to recover. However, in the Andean region, frost can come at any time during the growing season. For example in the Altiplano of Peru and Bolivia over 60,000 hectares of potato production is impacted by frost. It has been estimated that in this area potato production can be increased by 40% by simply increasing frost tolerance by 1-2 C. At present over 60% of the frost prone areas are planted with bitter but frost hardy potatoes. Similarly in many areas of China and India, winter crop can be severely impacted by frost. In the global climate change scenario frosts are predicted to be more erratic and severe. This is already happening in the Altiplano. In mid-January of 2015 air temperature dropped to -3C creating a severe foliage damage to cultivated potatoes. Over the last two decades we have taken a systematic approach to developing frost tolerant potatoes. During a natural frost, ice is produced extracellularly. This results in cellular desiccation and mechanical stress to the leaf tissue. Frost hardy species such as S. acaule and S. commersonii survive by tolerating the stresses induced by extracellular ice. We have devised precise methods for screening for frost tolerance. Using these tools we have demonstrated that frost tolerance can be moved from the hardy wild to cultivated potatoes. We are also making some progress in moving frost tolerance to native potatoes cultivated in the Peruvian Highlands. These tools provide develop and successfully release frost tolerant potatoes adapted to the Highlands.