Bioimpuls - organic potato breeding program
Organic potato production is still under pressure, mainly due to the absence of varieties resistant to the causal agent of late blight (Phytophthora infestans). Organic growers therefore require varieties adapted to organic growing conditions. Such are also important for conventional growers to reduce the chemical inputs.
In this 10-year project (2009-2019) an impulse will be given by producing starting material and genitors based on new resistance sources (10 wild relatives and already available half material). Besides, yearly crossings will be made with agronomic advanced genitors. The seeds will be distributed to professional breeders and farmer-breeders as starting material for further selection.
We expect that yearly 10 third-year clones will go to Bioimpuls partner companies for further testing and selection. The Bioimpuls breeding program deals with 40,000 seedlings a year, divided over the central breeding program and the associated farmer breeders and breeding companies.
In the breeding program, next to late blight resistance, extra attention is paid to the traits: nitrogen efficiency, early maturity, tuber dormancy, and resistance against early blight, potato virus Y, black scurf, silver scurf and taste by using specific crossings parents. Through yearly courses and the publication of a manual for Potato breeding (2013) the selection capacity among organic farmer breeders has increased.
In the second phase of Bioimpuls (2014-2019) not only introgression will be continued, but also research will be conducted to analyse the relationship between foliar and tuber resistance to late blight of the available genetic resources, in order to be able to make combinations of genes that work both in foliage and tubers. To stack resistance genes marker technology is an indispensable tool. The developed markers (derived from other programs) will be valorised in this breeding program.