Heritage potato collection (PT13009)
What was it all about?
Australia is a signatory to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, an agreement that ensures the sustainable use of plant genetic resources (including potato) and the sharing of benefits that arise from that use. As a result of the treaty, Australia has five major plant genetic resource centres, with a number of minor genetic collections generally managed by recognised government agricultural agencies.
This project identified a list of heritage potatoes for propagation and produced and maintained healthy tubers in order to preserve this genetic resource for Australia. It successfully propagated 207 cultivars through two glasshouse pot trials, from the 218 cultivars that are not currently maintained in the tissue culture collections. The collection is held at the Toolangi Research Station in Victoria, under the management of the National Potato Breeding Program.
Cultivars within the potato gene bank include fresh market types with a variety of coloured skins and coloured flesh, and those suitable for crisping and French fry processing.
There are also cultivars with resistance to key pathogens including common scab, powdery scab, potato cyst nematodes and the tuber necrotic strain of potato virus Y. The collection is also from a diverse range of geographic and breeding sources.
It is important to maintain this diversity for the future of the Australian potato industry, as this will enable the industry to rapidly access cultivars if markets change or develop. It allows local development of new germplasm suited to Australian production conditions, resistant to Australian pathogen problems, and productive under new environmental stresses such as changing climate and drought.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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