Avebe

Avebe is a cooperative of starch-potato growers focused on the market. Traditionally we only focused on extracting starch from potatoes. However, by developing innovative methods we now also extract proteins from potatoes that are intended for the food industry. But there is more…. To us a potato is a source of opportunities with even more ingredients that can be turned into value. In other words, if it’s in there, we’ll extract it!

Market-oriented sustainable potato cultivation is one of the pillars of Avebe's new long-term strategy Binding and Building 2.0. The targets are clearly defined: 10 per cent more starch per hectare and 10 per cent less environmental impact. In other words: a higher yield per hectare with less input. Avebe's own breeding company, Averis in Valthermond, the most important supplier of varieties in starch potato cultivation, is constantly working on this.

SUSTAINABLE CULTIVATION

STARTS WITH A MORE RESISTANT

VARIETY

The Avito breed has an enhanced resistance to phytophthora. ‘That fits in perfectly with the new strategy,’ says Paul Heeres. ‘A crop that's less sensitive to this fungal disease needs less chemical crop protection. And that means less environmental impact and a nice cost saving.’ Jasper Tammes: ‘In regular starch cultivation we carry out up to fifteen spraying operations but with Avito three or four sprays are sufficient.’

Avito

In addition to phytophthora, wart disease and potato fatigue are also addressed in the breeding programme. It's a quest in which the diseases are never definitively defeated. Nature is unruly, pathogens are able to adapt and overcome resistance. Breeder Jasper Tammes: ‘That's why we recommend spraying Avito a number of times, for example.’

Nature is unruly

In recent years, marker technology has boosted the development of varieties with new resistance properties. A marker can be used to detect the presence of a piece of DNA whose property it is known to represent. Once a marker has been developed, a DNA test is sufficient to determine whether a plant has a certain property, such as resistance to phytophthora. This saves a lot of time in the breeding process.

Stacking resistances

At present, DNA research is mainly used for selection by resistance properties. But this technology could also give an extra boost to breeding for yield properties, foresees Jasper Tammes. That's still in its infancy, because markers for starch yield are more complicated. ‘Resistance is in many cases a single property linked to one gene. It's either there or it's not. But starch yield is a quantitative property. It's determined by a combination of different properties. That's much more complicated to translate into a DNA profile and test, but I expect that we'll make progress with this in the next five years.’

Markers for yield properties

In the even more distant future, growers will be able to search for very specific properties, adds Paul Heeres. ‘We're now looking mainly at starch and protein. But there are many more valuable substances in potatoes, such as certain amino acids. There are also substances that you want to exclude, such as alkaloids. We're in discussion with our Innovations colleagues about new applications based on certain ingredients, so that we as growers can develop the best varieties for this purpose. Breeding by design. That's still a bridge too far, but in about 15 years we'll be able to do much more.’

Breeding by design

SUSTAINABLE CULTIVATION STARTS WITH A MORE RESISTANT
VARIETY

Market-oriented sustainable potato cultivation is one of the pillars of Avebe's new long-term strategy Binding and Building 2.0. The targets are clearly defined: 10 per cent more starch per hectare and 10 per cent less environmental impact. In other words: a higher yield per hectare with less input. Avebe's own breeding company, Averis in Valthermond, the most important supplier of varieties in starch potato cultivation, is constantly working on this.

Avito

The Avito breed has an enhanced resistance to phytophthora. ‘That fits in perfectly with the new strategy,’ says Paul Heeres. ‘A crop that's less sensitive to this fungal disease needs less chemical crop protection. And that means less environmental impact and a nice cost saving.’ Jasper Tammes: ‘In regular starch cultivation we carry out up to fifteen spraying operations but with Avito three or four sprays are sufficient.’

Nature is unruly

In addition to phytophthora, wart disease and potato fatigue are also addressed in the breeding programme. It's a quest in which the diseases are never definitively defeated. Nature is unruly, pathogens are able to adapt and overcome resistance. Breeder Jasper Tammes: ‘That's why we recommend spraying Avito a number of times, for example.’

Stacking resistances

In recent years, marker technology has boosted the development of varieties with new resistance properties. A marker can be used to detect the presence of a piece of DNA whose property it is known to represent. Once a marker has been developed, a DNA test is sufficient to determine whether a plant has a certain property, such as resistance to phytophthora. This saves a lot of time in the breeding process.

Markers for yield properties

At present, DNA research is mainly used for selection by resistance properties. But this technology could also give an extra boost to breeding for yield properties, foresees Jasper Tammes. That's still in its infancy, because markers for starch yield are more complicated. ‘Resistance is in many cases a single property linked to one gene. It's either there or it's not. But starch yield is a quantitative property. It's determined by a combination of different properties. That's much more complicated to translate into a DNA profile and test, but I expect that we'll make progress with this in the next five years.’

Breeding by design

In the even more distant future, growers will be able to search for very specific properties, adds Paul Heeres. ‘We're now looking mainly at starch and protein. But there are many more valuable substances in potatoes, such as certain amino acids. There are also substances that you want to exclude, such as alkaloids. We're in discussion with our Innovations colleagues about new applications based on certain ingredients, so that we as growers can develop the best varieties for this purpose. Breeding by design. That's still a bridge too far, but in about 15 years we'll be able to do much more.’