Researchers at Oregon State University, working under the Pacific Northwest Tri-State Program, are evaluating thousands of potential selections in both traditional and specialty-type market classes. Isabel Vales, OSU's foremost researcher on potato breeding and genetics, is focusing on molecular and conventional breeding for resistance to pests and disease. The aim is to identify selections that have the potential to be grown under organic systems without the use of synthetic pesticides.
Synthetic pesticides are often expensive, but because of current crop requirements, they play an important role in large-scale production. As varieties are developed that are better suited to their environment the need for synthetics may decline, possibly resulting in improved net returns for growers.
Much of the vegetable breeding being done today focuses on value-added traits. These traits may include better taste, unusual shapes, different skin and flesh colors and increased levels of phytochemicals -- chemicals in plants thought to have protective or disease preventive properties. These traits could add selling power in all markets, Vales said.
Added-value varieties that include disease, pest and various stress resistances may have more to offer growers than any other growing input, adds Brian Charlton, a cropping systems and potato variety researcher at the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center.
The average adult in the United States eats about 136 pounds of potatoes annually in the form of fresh potatoes, fries and chips, as well as in processed foods like soup. Farmers in Idaho, Washington and Oregon grow the majority of U.S. consumed spuds.
Potatoes from the Tri-State program have yet to be evaluated to suitability in organic systems, said the researchers. The OSU potato team is gathering together crop and soil scientists, horticulturists, and food scientists to identify selection criteria for organically grown potatoes.
"We are interested in developing potatoes suitable for organics, and also on evaluating taste and chemical composition of the more promising lines," said Vales. The organic market continues to grow with each production season. U.S. organic food sales grew at a double-digit rate from $1 billion in 1990 to more than $14 billion in 2005 and are expected to exceed $16 billion by the end of 2006. This is the fastest growing segment of the food industry, offering many opportunities and areas of concern, said Vales. In order for Northwest growers to have an edge in organic markets they will need varieties that can compete with traditional breeds. Mainstream growers are constantly looking at ways to remain competitive and boost their net returns per acre, Charlton adds. As organic produce moves closer to conventionally grown foods in price, many growers see putting at least some of their land into organic and transitional production as a way to add value to their crops.
"I envision more and more growers adopting sustainable or true integrated pest management practices in an effort to curtail input costs," said Charlton.
"Unfortunately, products grown under these parameters are often lost in the marketplace. Consumers generally have a choice between conventional and organic with few options in the middle."
Isabel Vales | EurekAlert!
Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences