HomePlantsCrisp testing planned as collection of old potato varieties expands

Crisp testing planned as collection of old potato varieties expands

Date: 22.05.2018 Author: Sara Landqvist Category: Plants

Kalmar Röd is one of the potato varieties that are to be virus cleansed.

Just about when the earliest potatoes were harvested in Sweden, it was decided that NordGen will be able to expand its potato collection. In a new project, financed by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, a dozen older potato varieties will be virus cleaned. This enables us to preserve them for future generations in a safe and durable way.


The potato landraces which will be virus cleaned are already preserved in the garden of NordGen. But for us being able to preserve them for the future as guaranteed healthy plants, elimination of virus diseases is essential. This will now be possible through the granted funding.

– When potatoes are grown outdoors they will inescapably be exposed to insects carrying different kinds of viruses, says Ulrika Carlson-Nilsson, Senior Scientist at NordGen.

Kept safe at NordGen

The solution is to instead preserve the potatoes as very small plants in glass tubes in a climate chamber, in vitro. This is how NordGen preserves our 78 Nordic varieties of today. Varieties that are distributed to researchers and other stakeholders are done so along with a guarantee that the plant material dispatched is free from viruses.

– Here in the gene bank’s laboratory, the potatoes are kept safe. We preserve them as living plants in a sterile environment where they’re not exposed to any potato diseases, says Pawel Chrominski who is in charge of NordGen’s in vitro laboratory.

When the potato landraces have been virus cleaned, they are to be used in two field experiments. Their resistance of potato late blight is to be evaluated and they are to be evaluated morphologically as well as analyzed for their culinary value.

– In other words, we are going to analyze how they look, grow and flower. But we will also look at other parameters e.g. taste the tubers and determine their texture after they’ve been cooked as well as see how they perform as crisps, says Pawel Chrominski.

Facilitate the use

Another aspect which is to be investigated is whether the potatoes darken when they’ve been cooked, a very important piece of information for restaurants and chefs when choosing which potato to serve. The purpose of these trials is to gather information that will facilitate the use of these older potatoes.

Among the potato landraces that are to be virus cleaned we have the Danish potato Thy kartofler, Reyð Epli of the Faroe Islands, Norjalainen Laivaperuna from Finland and the Swedish potato Granuddspotatis.

– This project will contribute to an increased conservation and utilization of our old Nordic potato varieties, says Ulrika Carlson-Nilsson.

The project is performed in cooperation with, and is partly financed by Svensk Potatis, Larsvikens Lantbruks AB and Bodaholms gård.


Ulrika Carlson-Nilsson
Senior Scientist
+46 40 53 65 51



Pawel Chrominski
In vitro lab responsible
+46 40 53 66 43