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Study looks at challenges of climate change on potato production in Canada

In a study by the Fredericton Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, published in Frontiers in Plant Science, researchers led by Keshav Dahal, with Xiu-Qing Li, Helen Tai, Alexa Creelman, and Benoit Bizimungu, examine the impact of climate change on potato cultivation. They emphasize the development of stress-tolerant potato varieties as essential for sustaining global food supplies amid increasing environmental pressures.

The research identifies global warming's threats to agriculture, including extreme heat, drought, increased soil salinity, and higher pest and disease incidence, which affect potato crops significantly. Potatoes, being the fourth major food crop worldwide, face vulnerabilities to these climatic conditions. The study underscores the importance of doubling current yields of major food crops to meet the future demands of a growing global population.

The Canadian team's findings underscore the lack of comprehensive data on potato resistance mechanisms to environmental stresses. They explore the molecular, biochemical, and physiological responses of potato plants to elevated CO2 levels, high temperatures, and water scarcity. "The elucidation of these mechanisms provides valuable insights into developing new breeding strategies aimed at enhancing potato yield under environmental stresses," the researchers note. They advocate for future research to focus on identifying signaling molecules and target genes that regulate stress tolerance and crop yield potential.

This research is called 'essential' for enhancing the adaptability and productivity of potato crops worldwide, aiming to secure the food supply for an increasing global population in the face of climate change.


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