FARGO, N.D., May 7 (UPI) — Isolating genes that control dormancy is key to developing potato varieties that keep longer and are more environmentally friendly, U.S. researchers said.
Seventy percent of all potatoes grown in the United States are processed into chips, french fries and dehydrated flakes, said Jeff Suttle of the U.S. Agricultural Research Service’s Potato Unit in Fargo, N.D.
In some cases, whole potatoes must be stored for as long as 10 months without sprouting, the research service said in a release Thursday.
Suttle and his team have identified internal mechanisms that signal sprouts to grow and they are isolating the genes responsible for those signals.
The work has led to the development of two new potato varieties — the “Dakota Crisp” and the “Dakota Diamond,” which fare well even after nine months of storage.
Developing new potato varieties that store longer would reduce the amount of chemicals used to inhibit sprouting during storage, Suttle’s team said in a recent issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
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