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USDA Deregulates Additional Varieties of Innate® Second Generation Potatoes with Late Blight Disease Protection and Cold Storage

Oct 28, 2016

The USDA has deregulated the Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of the second generation of Innate® biotech potatoes.  These varieties join the Innate® second generation Russet Burbank potato which was deregulated last year.

The second generation of Innate potatoes contains four beneficial traits of relevance to potato growers, processors and consumers: 1.) Reduced bruising and black spots; 2.) Reduced asparagine; 3.) Protection against the late blight pathogen; and, 4.) Enhanced cold storage capability. These traits were achieved by adding only genes from wild and cultivated potatoes.

Research shows that Innate second generation potatoes will further contribute to reducing waste associated with bruise, blight and storage losses by reducing waste at multiple stages of the value chain, including in-field, during storage, processing, and in foodservice. That research suggests that these traits will translate to less land, water and pesticide applications to produce these potatoes.

Academics consulted by Simplot, for instance, estimate that the Innate late blight protection trait can result in a 50% reduction in fungicide applications annually to control late blight disease, cause of the Irish Potato Famine in the mid-19th century. Lower asparagine means that accumulation levels of acrylamide can be reduced by up to 90% or more when these potatoes are cooked at high temperatures. In addition, lower reducing sugars enable cold storage at 38°F for more than 6 months without the build-up of sugars which improves quality.

“The introduction of late blight resistance in Innate varieties is a game changer, one that has the potential to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of potato growing by reducing pesticide use,” said Neil Gudmestad, University Distinguished Professor & Endowed Chair of Potato Pathology, North Dakota State University.

Simplot is looking forward to the completion of the EPA registration and FDA consultation before these additional varieties of second generation of Innate® potatoes are initially introduced into the marketplace.