potato breeding at OSU

Why Breed Potatoes at OSU?

Potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. More than a billion people worldwide eat potato. It is the world’s number one non-grain food commodity, with production reaching a record 324 million tons in 2010.

Potato's crop value is significant to Oregon agriculture and to the overall economic health of the state. Oregon potato producers sold more than $175 million of potatoes in 2011, making them the state’s seventh largest crop and Oregon’s leading vegetable crop in terms of gross farm gate sales. When considering processing value, the statewide economic footprint of potatoes is likely several times larger.

Goals

The breeding goal is to release and commercialize new potato varieties using molecular breeding techniques, in a way that will directly benefit all segments of the Oregon and Northwest potato industry. The traits of importance are: low solids, early maturity, bruise resistance, diseases and pests tolerance, superior taste, typy and better packaging, long term storage, high yields, long dormancy, etc.

The main objective of Oregon Potato Breeding Program is to develop new russet potatoes for fresh market and processing industry with increased tolerance to soil borne pathogens.

Current Research Projects

Tri-State Potato Research and Breeding Program is a regional program with aim to develop new potato varieties for the Pacific Northwest with enhanced attributes relative to varieties currently available to the industry. The Tri-State Potato Research and Breeding Program is a cooperative, regional collaboration of the USDA/ARS of Idaho and Washington, Oregon State University, University of Idaho, Washington State University and the potato commissions of the three states. Research scientists work together with Experiment Station personnel in a coordinated program that has resulted in more than forty new potato varieties being released since the program’s inception. Funding of the program is also cooperative, including state universities, USDA-ARS base funds, grower dollars from the state commissions, and federal grant funding through various USDA programs.

Graduate Student Expectations

Graduate students are expected to demonstrate curiosity, motivation, hard work, and academic excellence. Graduate students will gain experience in the field, greenhouse, and lab. It is expected that Master’s students publish one journal paper and Ph.D. students two to three journal papers. Besides all these academic requirements, students need to have an adventurous and can-do attitude.

Breeding Methods

Marker-assisted, and genomic selection.

Sponsors

The funding sources are from USDA-NIFA special Grant, Cooperative Research Agreements, and Potato Commissions of OR, WA, ID.

Collaborators

Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC):

  • Vidyasagar Sathuvalli
  • Moises Aguilar
  • Girijesh Patel

Kalamath Basin Research and Extension Center (KBREC):

  • Brian Charlton
  • Nicole Bailey

Department of Crop and Soil Science (CSS):

  • Solomon Yilma
  • Joshua Phillips
  • Jenny Reed

Malheur Expermient Station (MES):

  • Clint Shock
  • Erik Feibert

Oregon State University is working with the USDA/ARS of Idaho and Washington, University of Idaho, Washington State University and the potato commissions of the three states.

Graduate Student Projects

Graebner, Ryan Coombs, Ph.D. Degree Candidate (graebner@onid.oregonstate.edu)

Botany

Potato belongs to the Solanaceae family, which encompasses about 90 genera and 2,800 species.  Solanaceous plants can be found throughout the world, though most species dwell in tropical regions of Central and South America. The genus, Solanum, has about 2,000 species and includes all tuber-bearing wild species, as well as Solanum tuberosum, the species to which all common potato cultivars belong.

Economic Significance

Potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. More than a billion people worldwide eat potato. It is the world’s number one non-grain food commodity, with production reaching a record 324 million tons in 2010.

Potato's crop value is significant to Oregon agriculture and to the overall economic health of the state. Oregon potato producers sold more than $175 million of potatoes in 2011, making them the state’s seventh largest crop and Oregon’s leading vegetable crop in terms of gross farm gate sales. When considering processing value, the statewide economic footprint of potatoes is likely several times larger.