Protecting potatoes – when all your money is underground

Photo: Luke Steere
Photo: Luke Steere

French fries, hash browns and crispy chips come to mind when we think about potatoes. Potatoes are the most widely consumed crops in the United States, and the world’s fourth-largest food crop, after maize, wheat, and rice.

Potatoes grow on almost every continent. They adapt well toclimate and are a good source of potassium, vitamin C and carbohydrates. Their greatest enemy is soil borne diseases. Currently, those diseases are controlled by fumigating the soil with chemicals. That’s expensive both economically and environmentally. And it kills beneficial organisms!

Luke Steere, a doctoral student in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University, says potatoes have chosen him. Why? He talks to Ali Hussain about his research of molecular techniques and how it could reduce fumigation and improve production of potatoes.

Listen to the interview here

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