January 2022 - 29

symptoms differentially based on climate, potato cultivar, and
latitude and some rarely cause any foliar symptoms.
TIMELINESS FOR MAKING CRITICAL BUSINESS
DECISIONS
Most importantly, seed potato certification agencies typically
provide certification results to growers four months after
harvesting tubers. This involves collecting sample tubers,
chemically breaking tuber dormancy, shipping several thousand
pounds of tubers to winter grow out locations such as Hawaii and
Florida, sampling leaves from vines, testing and then providing
results to growers. This time lag limits seed potato grower and
seed buyer ability to make sound business management decisions
as they wait for seed certification results that decide whether the
seed could be sold as a certified seed or not.
To provide a commitment to a prospective seed potato
buyer, the seed potato grower should be able to get certification
results at the earliest possible time. One way to overcome this
bottleneck is to use PCR testing (similar to a SARS-CoV-2 virus
test) on newly harvested tubers that can improve pathogen
detection while providing expedited results to growers.
This made sense to Don Sklarczyk, who is tasked with
investigating the industries future needs as the volunteer
chair of the National Potato Council's seed potato health
initiative Vision 2026 Committee. Sklarczyk himself, an
innovator in tissue culture potato production in the 1980s at
Sklarczyk Seed Farm, Michigan, has walked the line between
economy of efficient production vs. the risk/benefit of new
methods and this experience made Don an obvious choice to
coordinate groups seeking new ways to do things.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
What started out in Stewart Gray's (retired USDA-ARS
scientist) lab as a request to " find a way to test tubers for
potato viruses and be able to test them by the 10,000s " has
since developed a life of its own with interest across a variety
of states and certification agencies. Tuber testing on the scale
needed to certify a seed lot can be a measure of human stamina
because it requires 400 randomly collected tubers to predict
whether disease levels are acceptable in the entire field.
But how do you test tubers by the thousands? Gray's lab
adapted police crime scene technology with the development
of a customized version of Whatman FTA Cards that are
common in human testing. This new method provided a safe
and reliable way to collect, transport and store potato DNA at
room temperature. This approach also eliminated the need to
ship heavy tubers covered in dirt to testing laboratories. Further,
they developed molecular assays for large scale processing and
figured out the type of sample that must be taken from a tuber to
have acceptable statistical odds to determine the true infection
status. Now that the methods were developed, the next logical
step was to put these methods into real-world applications.
MANY HANDS MAKE WORK LIGHT
Learning about Gray's research, a progressive seed grower
interested in learning more about his farm's seed potato crop
teamed with USDA-ARS and CSU researchers and offered
his farm, labor, and seed crop as an experimental site for
DATE:
12.06.21
FILE NAME:
PUB/ISSUE:
CLIENT: POTI
POTI984 Time Industry
Spudman January
Spudman * January 2022
Layna
PREPARED BY:
INTERNAL ROUND: R1
TRIM SIZE: 273.25 " x 9.6 "
N/A
LIVE SIZE:
BLEED SIZE:
N/A
STRENGTHENING
THE DEMAND
FOR U.S. POTATOES
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NEWS AND
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January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January 2022

January 2022 - 1
January 2022 - 2
January 2022 - 3
January 2022 - 4
January 2022 - 5
January 2022 - 6
January 2022 - 7
January 2022 - 8
January 2022 - 9
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