CONSERVATION AND UTILIZATION OF POTATO GENETIC RESOURCES
Location: Vegetable Crops Research Unit
Title: Genetic Improvement of Potato for Tuber Calcium Uptake
Submitted to: Proceedings Wisconsin Annual Potato Meetings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 26, 2008
Publication Date: February 3, 2008
Citation: Palta, J.P., Bamberg, J.B., Vega, S.E., Navarro, F.M., Bowen, B. 2008. Genetic Improvement of Potato for Tuber Calcium Uptake. Proceedings Wisconsin Annual Potato Meetings. 21:15-20.
Tuber internal quality is a major limiting factor for the U.S. potato industry. Breeders invest time and money in producing advanced selections which, in the end, often fail because of tuber internal defects, tuber bruising, or storage quality issues. In-season fertilization with calcium is known to result in an increase in tuber calcium and lowered incidence of tuber internal defects, bruise susceptibility and reduced storage rot. Cultivated potato tubers are generally deficient in calcium. Our studies are aimed at investigating the genetic potential for improving tuber calcium accumulation ability and to determine if this improvement will lead to improved tuber quality. We have found significant genetic variations in tuber calcium accumulation ability among the wild and cultivated potatoes. Some species, such as S. microdontum, accumulate almost five times the tuber calcium as compared to the common cultivars. We have on hand segregating populations, that vary in calcium accumulation ability, developed from hybrids of cultivated and wild potatoes. In addition, we have over 500 progenies developed from a cross between Atlantic and Superior that are segregating for tuber calcium and specific gravity. We are screening and evaluating these hybrids to identify clones that combine the desired traits of Atlantic and Superior, for agronomic traits such as yield, tuber size and tuber appearance. By simultaneous evaluation of these hybrids for disease and pest resistance and performance under commercial production, we expect to make a rapid progress towards developing better chipping cultivars with enhanced tuber internal quality and tuber storage quality.