Developing potatoes resilient to environmental stresses
Potato tuber yield is highly susceptible to elevated temperature and heat tolerant varieties are important for seed exports to markets such as Egypt, India, China as well as protecting food security in the face of climate change. Our work has defined molecular, biochemical and physiological responses to elevated temperature. The effects of long-term exposure to moderately elevated temperatures and a powerful thermal acclimation response have been identified and characterised. Using a genetic approach, Hutton research has identified heat tolerant varieties and gene markers for this trait. We are now working towards understanding physiological mechanisms involved in the response of potatoes to heat and drought combinations. Transcriptional nodes have been identified and are being compared in germplasm with contrasting responses to heat and drought. For these studies we work with a network of international collaborators from the academic and commercial sectors ensuring translation of our work to the business sector.