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Quapores: towards the “ideal” potato variety

How might it be possible to obtain a variety that is not only resistant but also benefits from nutritional qualities and is suitable for processing?  It is hoped that the Quapores project, coordinated by Jean-Eric Chauvin at the Institute for Genetics, the Environment and Plant Protection (IGEPP) will be able to answer these questions.

Variability of tetraploid genotypes of potatoes undergoing selection. © INRA, FRANÇOIS Jacques
Updated on 10/03/2013
Published on 08/30/2013

France is one of the leading producers in the world of potatoes for human consumption (not including processed products) and ranks second as an exporter of seed potatoes, 30% of which come from Brittany.  However, the potato plant and its tubers harbour a large number of parasites: more than 60 diseases have been shown to have an economic impact on this crop.

An “ideal” potato variety

At present, research is developing new, more resistant varieties in order to limit the use of plant health products during the cultivation cycle.  But it is still crucial to verify, in collaboration with Breton breeders, whether these varieties do indeed correspond to market needs, and notably the criteria of the processing industry: cutting, frying, transformation into crisps or tinned products.  For the processing industry, the principle innovative feature of Quapores (Qualité des tubercules de POmme de terre RESistantes à différents agents pathogènes, or Quality of potato tubers resistant to different pathogenic agents) is the acquisition of genetic data so that an “ideal variety” can be bred in the future for processing as canned foods or crisps.

Demonstrating the relationships between resistance and quality

The Quapores project aims to demonstrate scientifically some of the favourable or unfavourable relationships between resistances introduced into modern varieties, and their organoleptic, nutritional or technological qualities (e.g. blackening after cooking).  As a first stage, the aim is to develop techniques in order to assay the different biochemical compounds present in potatoes (vitamins, flavonoids, amino acids, etc.) that might interfere with quality, nutritional benefits or suitability for industrial processing.  This work will be carried out at the P2M2 (Metabolic and Metabolomic Profiling Platform) and in collaboration with the Corsaire platform.  This stage will enable the development of protocols and operating procedures for biochemical analysis that can be applied to large quantities of tubers.  As a second stage, these assay techniques will be applied to potatoes that are resistant or susceptible to three pathogenic agents: Phytophthora infestans, the agent for late blight, the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida, and bacteria belonging to the Pectobacterium genus.  The results will then be compared in order to determine whether there are any correlations between the degree of resistance, the genetic origin of the plant material and the content in certain compounds.  Finally, a few varieties will be characterised relative to their sensory quality and suitability for cooking and processing.  In the longer term, each user should be able to obtain a variety that is not only resistant but also adapted to production conditions in western France, as well as meeting demands in terms of end use.  Quapores is being coordinated by Jean-Eric Chauvin in the Institute for Genetics, the Environment and Plant Protection (IGEPP).  The overall budget for this project is €495,000 over three years, including €221,000 provided by the Brittany Regional Council, Rennes Métropole and the Departmental Council for Finistère. Quapores is being carried out in partnership with Oregon State University, Bretagne Plants, Germicopa, Altho and the cooperative group PENY-CECAB.

Contact(s)
Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Plant Biology and Breeding
Associated Centre(s):
Brittany-Normandy