Dr. Don Henne isn’t wasting his degree when he’s standing by the deep fryer waiting for potato slices to turn brown. He’s conducting research that will help the potato industry and consumers.
Henne, an assistant research scientist in the Texas AgriLife Research plant pathology program in Amarillo, is one of many who are trying to find answers about zebra chip. Zebra chip is the latest disease to plague the potato industry, especially those in the chipping business.
Dr. Charlie Rush, AgriLife Research plant pathologist and leader of the program, began working on the project at the request of local producers in early 2007. His work later became a part of the Zebra Chip State Initiative through the Texas Department of Agriculture.
The initiative brought together researchers from throughout the state and country to try to find answers for zebra chip, Rush said.
“When we first began working on it, the pathogen and vector were unknown,” he said. “Only recently have researchers began pinning those down."