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Research and development of a new method of potato grafting to increase sustainable production of virus-free seed potatoes

Abstract

The potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is one of the most important species of the family Solanaceae and one of the main food sources of humanity. The way of propagation this species is vegetative via tubers. For this reason, the seed tuber must be good quality, otherwise it implies a fall in productivity, mainly due to phytosanitary problems, such as viruses, which reduce plant vigor, generation after generation. The companies producing seed tubers by tissue culture. However, most producers choose to import material from other countries and multiply their own seed to reduce production costs. The objective of this study is to evaluate the possibility of increasing the production of mini-tubers of the main potato varieties used in Brazil (Agata and Atlantic), by combining (grafting) the root portion of these varieties with the top of a hybrid adapted to the short day (HPC7B). This hybrid was obtained by the crossing between the species Solanum tuberosum subsp tuberosum X Solanum chacoense. Grafting increases the production and quality of the products and increases the resistance of plants to pathogens. This practice has shown positive effects for many cultures. However, for potato cultivation by grafting needs studies that demonstrate the benefits of this technology. Seedlings will be produced by tissue culture and indexed to the major viruses that can affect potato by serological and molecular methods. Finally, the grafting will be done using virus-free plants of the Agata and Atlantic varieties as a root portion and the hybrid HPC7B as a top portion. As control will be used plants of the same ungrafted varieties. The plants will be grown under aeroponics system. The number and fresh mass of the mini-tubers per plant will be evaluated. As a result, the production and quality of mini-tubers is expected to increase, making the company more competitive. The increase in the production of high-quality and virus-free seed potatoes in the country will lead to reductions in imports of this input and cost to the producer, contributing to the strengthening of the potato production chain in the country. (AU)

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