Pest-Resistant Potatoes

Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service and collaborators have developed a new russet potato germplasm line that potentially could reduce the cost of crop protectants used to combat Columbia root-knot nematodes.

These pests are an issue in the Pacific Northwest and in Florida. Fumigating the ground prior to planting has helped keep the number of these pests down, but the cost to do so has been great. Some chemicals are said to cost up to $300 per acre. In addition, the fumigation process has caused many beneficial insects to become casualties.

With its genetic resistance, the potato, PA99N82-4, protects the roots and tubers from nematode feeding. Before it can be used to develop commercial varieties, PA99N82-4 will undergo two more years of field-testing.

Source: Agricultural Research Service

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