The Horizon 2020 EU project Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT), in which Europatat is participating, aims to elucidate potato tolerance to single and combined abiotic stresses, and to develop new strategies for potato improvement. This interdisciplinary project is divided into six work packages (WPs), each executed by European experts in a broad range of fields, ranging from plant physiology to mathematical modeling.
One of the key aims of the ADAPT project is to understand how environmental stresses impact on the development of potato tubers. Prior to the ADAPT project, consortium members were at the forefront of this area of research. Within the ADAPT project we plan to build on these findings and determine how the key mechanisms responsible for tuber development are impacted by stresses such as heat and drought.
Dr Ray Campbell is a post-doctoral researcher at the James Hutton Institute who is working on this aspect. In collaboration with ADAPT researchers at CRAG in Barcelona, Ray has identified a new component of tuberization signalling. Other researchers from Wageningen, FAU and UVIE are putting together other pieces of the molecular jigsaw involved in the highly complicated process of tuber development.
We know that these signalling mechanisms respond to the environment and under unfavourable conditions of drought and heat stress, result in reduced growth of the tubers. By understanding these processes ADAPT researchers believe they will develop new strategies for breeding climate resilient potatoes, securing the future of this important crop throughout Europe and beyond. Ray is currently planning a research visit to Professor Salome Prat’s laboratory at CRAG in Barcelona to help process some of the field samples and learn some of the advanced molecular biology techniques developed there.