Developing blight-resistant organic potatoes

Developing blight-resistant organic potatoes

MAPAQ support for Bishop’s and SeedChange research

people working in a fieldDr. Darren Bardati, from Bishop’s University Environment and Geography Department and Dr. Helen Jensen, of SeedChange – the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian seed security, are looking to develop new varieties of potatoes which would require less agricultural inputs to cultivate organically.

Towards that goal, they are planting over 1,000 tubers of different varieties on the Bishop’s University campus educational farm, to study which ones might be most promising in resisting Phytophtora Infestans fungi – also known as potato blight – while being attractive to potential consumers under organic cultivation methods. Should the research project succeed in identifying promising varieties, it could result in being able to cultivate organic potatoes requiring less fertilizers and pesticides.

Our research will use molecular markers to identify breeding lines that show resistance to disease. We’ll harvest in the Fall and keep some of the tubers to be replanted in 2023,” explains Dr. Bardati, who is Principal Investigator of the research project. “We’ll be observing the size of the plants and their characteristics, such as presence of disease, and we’ll also examine the tubers for their shape and appearance and other aspects. We’re planting different varieties of potatoes; some are quite colourful.”

The project is funded by the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des pêches et de l’alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ), in collaboration with the Consortium de recherche sur la pomme de terre du Québec (CRPTQ), and the Centre d’expertise et de transfert en agriculture de proximité (CETAB+), as well as SeedChange.

“SeedChange recently received a new $750,000 grant from Agriculture and AgriFood Canada to launch a dozen demonstration sites across Canada, including three in Québec, where people can discover the seeds developed by farmers through the Canadian program of SeedChange – the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security,” indicates Leticia Ama Deawuo, Executive Director of SeedChange.



Sonia Patenaude
Communications Manager
Bishop’s University