Edinburgh Potato Could Be Key in Fight Against Blight
A hybrid potato that is blight resistant is being trailed as a potential savior of some of the UK’s best-known varieties of spuds, reports the BBC.
The so-called “Edinburgh Potato” mixes domestic and wild Mexican breeds to combat blight. Currently, the disease is thought to be a potential threat to popular varieties such as King Edwards and Maris Pipers in the coming decades. But researchers believe the Edinburgh Potato – Solanum x edinese – could be the key.
According to the report, blight costs the UK industry an estimate GBP55m a year. The disease is constantly evolving, so potato varieties that were previously resistant may not be in the years to come.
Max Coleman, a scientist at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), has been working with other potato experts from research bodies across Scotland on the hybrid project. He reported that blight was present this August and most of the potatoes had to be topped. The topping means the disease doesn’t go into the roots and affects the potatoes. As for the hybrid Edinburgh crop, Coleman said it was perfectly healthy.