GM potatoes gather pace in USA

Genetically modified potatoes are gaining momentum in the USA, with new varieties more resistant to bruising and late blight. 

US company Simplot has recently received approval for generation-one innate potatoes, which offer less bruising and a reduction in acrylamide.

It is predicted to have the potential to save 400m pounds of potato waste each year in the USA, while also reducing acrylamide, a substance found in a number of products and associated with cancer, by up to 75%.

See also: 10 top tips to improve your potato business in 2015

In addition, generation two is currently in the process of coming to market, offering traits that provide resistance to late blight disease and lowered reducing sugars for long storage.

Haven Baker, chief potato scientist for Simplot, said the new varieties provide an exciting step forward for potato producers across the world, showing the potential available to farmers.

Speaking at the Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association conference, Dr Baker explained the fresh-cut potato market was an area where big advantages could be seen with non-browning potatoes having a shelf life of up to 14 days without any preservatives.

Meanwhile, resistance against late blight could see significant savings in late-blight fungicides with the addition of a yield bump, according to Dr Baker.

“The exciting advances in potatoes come after a decade of scientific development, safety assessments and extensive field tests, working with scientists across the globe,” he said.

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