Potatoes threatened as a basis for food?

Potatoes threatened as a basis for food?

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New strategies should make the potato more climate-resistant

The consequences of climate change cannot ignore one of the most important crops in Europe - the potato. The plant is sensitive to heavy rainfall and heat waves. In addition, crop yields are threatened by increasing pest infestation. A German research team is now showing how the potato can be better protected against climate damage.

Researchers at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences are presenting new methods with which the tuber can be protected from increasing weather extremes such as drought, heat or heavy rain events. Other strategies aim to counter the increasing pest infestation.

Potatoes are finding it increasingly difficult

The Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences reports that the constantly warming climate, the increasing weather extremes such as drought or heavy rain events, as well as the increasing pest infestation of the potato, are becoming increasingly difficult. In order to make the tuber more resistant, its crop rotation must be strengthened.

A strong crop rotation strengthens the potato

According to the researchers, in order to achieve optimal plant development, an adequate supply of nutrients, good soil conditions and resistant roots must be ensured. This can be achieved by planting a catch crop, which is planted in autumn and is said to provide more favorable soil conditions. In addition, the cover crop reduces the occurrence of plant-damaging nematodes in the soil.

Mushrooms strengthen catch crop and potato

It has long been known that cover crops and crop rotations improve soil conditions, but now this process is to be supplemented by useful mushrooms. Certain potato mushrooms are said to help protect against insects and unfavorable environmental factors, while special mushrooms that reduce the population of roundworms in the soil are planted together with the catch crop. In this way, both the catch crop and the potato are to be protected by the fungi.

Can crop plants be protected against climate change?

The process is now to be tested in various stages. “The main focus at the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences is the effectiveness tests of the developed products in the plant-soil system in vascular tests in a climate house and by means of laboratory analyzes. In addition, the effectiveness of the methods, also in the field, is tested in cooperation with agricultural companies, ”summarizes research director Professor Dr. Florian Wichern together. In the future, the research team hopes that this method can also be applied to other seeds in order to equip even more plants against adverse environmental conditions. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences: Strengthening the potato (published: 05.02.2020),

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