Research Underway on Potato Virus Protection

Washington state grows more than its share of potatoes, but neighboring Idaho is known as “potato central.” So, it’s no surprise that researchers at the University of Idaho spend a lot of time looking for ways to improve and protect potatoes.

Professor Alexander Karasev heads a team working on virus protection. “We have a project focused on tuber necrotic viruses that effect the yield and quality of potato tubers. It’s a large project that involves ten states producing potato and also the federal entity USDA/ARS.”

The objectives, Karasev says are threefold. “So, we have three different objectives. The first one is a short-term objective focused on prevention of virus infection in potato through certification, primarily, and improvements in detection and diagnosis.”

The second objective, Karasev says is focused on management tools for handling the viruses that infect potatoes through various types of treatments. “And the third objective is essentially focusing on breeding for resistance to viruses and virus vectors.”

The project, funded at the end of 2020, runs four years through 2024. As far as their goal, Karasev says it’s pretty straight forward.

“The goal is to improve management tools for potato industry to make it more efficient, to streamline the certification of seed potato, and also find tools to handle this infection in the field.”

Karasev says he’s satisfied with how the project is going and feels good about the direction the research is headed.

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