Arable & fibre crops - potato

Area of Expertise:

AFBI supports two projects on potatoes; 'Production of late blight and Blackleg resistant parental seedlings' and 'Nutrient profiling of potatoes growing in hydroponics'.

Project: Production of late blight and Blackleg resistant parental seedlings


Project Leader: Mr Paul Watts



To produce parental lines of potato with high levels of resistance to late blight (Phytophthora infestans)and blackleg (Erwinia spp.) for use in the commercial breeding programme at NIHPBS.

Knowledge Transfer

Watts, P. E. (2002). Strategic Breeding - Blight and blackleg resistance. Poster presented at Open day, Greenmount 21st Nov.


Project: Nutrient profiling of potatoes growing in hydroponics



A current project on tuber production in hydroponics has broadly identified the correct composition of nutrient solutions for growth and tuberision of two potato cultivars, as well as devising a suitable structure of framework and channel to facilitate foliage growth and harvesting of tubers. The data obtained indicate that while P and K need to be above thresholds, regulation of the supply of nitrogen to the plants is critical to maximising yield of tubers. Both deficiency and excess are harmful, and the optimum appears to change as the plant develops.
To date plants have been grown using one solution for the first 6 weeks and another thereafter. A more sophisticated input of nutrients is needed, continuously matching nitrogen supply at each growth stage to the plants' needs for prolonged growth and maximum tuberisation.


Magowan, E. (2005). Participation at a Public Relations Course. Public relations/press release writing course, Ballsbridge Dublin, June 2005.

Watts, P. E. (2004). Potato Breeding Report 2003/04. Summary of work for the year April 2003 - March 2004.