World Potato Congress 2012
    Top potato researchers from Britain and The Netherlands have joined the speaker panel at the World Potato Congress (WPC 2012) due to take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, May 27-30.

    Exploiting the potato genome and how new-found knowledge will ultimately impact production, nutritional qualities and consumer needs will be the focus for Dr Glenn Bryan of The James Hutton Institute, Dundee, Scotland.

    John Beddington

    Cutting the potato’s production carbon footprint down to size, as part of the industry’s sustainability agenda, will see Prof Anton Haverkort of Plant Research International, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Holland suggest actions for growers.

    Lead speaker on the first day, Prof Sir John Beddington, UK government chief scientific adviser, will examine the global challenges of food security in the coming decades and how policymakers can influence more sustainable intensification of agriculture with crops like the potato.

    He will discuss the recommendations of the UK Government Office for Science Global Food and Farming Futures report and how, one year on, this has been taken forward globally.

    Glenn Bryan

    Dr Bryan, who led the UK arm of the research team that sequenced the genome of the potato, will explain how putting more science into the sector will make breeding programmes more effective.

    “The use of genetics-based selection methods is very promising and technology to exploit the genome sequence is already underway,” he explains.

    “I can see that collaborative working involving scientists and breeders in different countries will lead to the introduction of baseline traits, such as nematode resistance, that will benefit all varieties. Individual breeders will then carry out work to introduce traits of particular relevance to their own geographic region.”

    Anton Haverkort

    According to Prof Haverkort, the scientific community attending World Potato Congress will exchange important knowledge with peers and the commercial sector.

    A significant issue will be to ensure we move forward together towards establishing a sustainable industry that makes best use of energy, land, water and chemicals as our goal. We’ve worked worldwide to define and quantify the carbon footprint and now we need to develop measures in the potato industry to ensure constraints on production can be avoided.

    Source: World Potato Congress