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Researchers are working to develop a potato that is resistant to climate change



Researchers at the University of Maine are working to develop potatoes that can withstand warming temperatures as the climate changes.

Gregory Porter who is a professor of crop ecology and management, says Warming temperatures and an extended growing season can lead to quality problems and disease

“The predictions for climate change are heavier rainfall events, and potatoes don’t tolerate flooding or wet conditions for long without having other quality problems,” Porter said.

He also said, “If we want potatoes to be continued to be produced successfully in Maine, we need to be able to produce varieties that can be resistant to change.”

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Around the world, research aimed at mitigating crop damage is underway. According to a NASA study published this month, climate change may affect the production of corn and wheat, with corn yields expected to drop while wheat yields could see potential growth as soon as 2030 under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario.

The process is well underway. They’re currently in the research testing phase at several locations across the United States. High-temperature stress is being tested on potatoes in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

“It takes 10 years of selection after that initial cross-pollination, and it might take two to five years before enough commercial evaluation has taken place to release a new potato variety,” Porter said.

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