Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association

Summary of Innate 2.0

Growers are encouraged to go to the website indicated and share your views.

Simplot is on a journey to make a better potato. The second generation of Innate makes significant progress on four major potato production issues including acrylamide, late blight, cold storage (reducing sugars) and bruising – providing significant benefits to the potato industry, consumers and the environment.

1.0 vs. 2.0

  • Innate 1.0, Approved by USDA, awaiting FDA approval; significantly lowered asparagine which means up to 70% less acrylamide formation after cooking vs. conventional. Black spot bruise significantly reduced.
  • Innate 2.0, currently in USDA review APHIS-2014-0076; traits from 1.0 will be enhanced plus new traits for blight resistance and further reducing sugars. Reduced sugars means even less acrylamide and bruising, providing potential for millions of dollars in reduced annual losses from sprouting, shrink and waste.
  • For bruising, sugars and acrylamide reduction, Simplot uses RNAi technology to suppress naturally-occurring enzymes, or “tone down” specific traits in the plants DNA. No foreign genes are inserted. For blight-resistance, genes from a potato native to South America are added to achieve desired traits.

Sustainability:  

  • Fewer chemicals: Natural blight resistance and reduced sugars from cold storage means fewer fungicides and herbicides will be applied to crops.  Estimates for the impact of natural blight resistance range from 25-50% less fungicides for growers, resulting in a potential annual reduction of ~ 290M lbs. of fungicide applications per year.
  • Additionally, post-harvest chemical applications of CIPC, an herbicide, will be significantly reduced due to gene silencing that prevents sugar buildup, sprouting and shrink.
  • Resource efficiency: Innate 2.0 potatoes reduce impacts to the environment by requiring less chemical sprays and fungicides, less water, acreage, Co2 emissions and organic/food waste than conventional potatoes. Three examples include 1) 15.2B fewer gallons of water for the fresh market alone (est. based on fresh ~17% of potato crops)  2) reduced CO2 associated with re-planting and rejected or non-useable crops 2) significantly reduced post-harvest and consumer waste
  • Growing populations: Additionally, food scarce nations stand to benefit from a disease resistant potato that requires fewer inputs.

Consumer benefits:

  • Significantly less acrylamide: The second generation of Simplot’s potato will have the lowest level of acrylamide of any potato when cooked at high temperatures – up to 90% less when compared to conventional counterparts.
  • Higher quality potatoes: Consumers will have year-round access to russet varieties with less bruising or discoloration that occurs during storage, prep and cooking.

The potato industry will benefit from greater yield value, reduction in waste and cost of inputs: Reduced bruising, cold storage and disease resistance with fewer chemical applications provides three significant benefits to growers and packers, helping reduce inputs, optimize harvest quality, volumes and value.

  • Cold storage with reduced sugars: Cold storage can occur at 38 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 9 months, allowing chipping potatoes to be grown and stored without deteriorating value. Conversion of starch to sugars causes potatoes to shrink and reduces their quality.  Most processors reject loads with reducing sugar content above 2%, which is approximately 20% of potatoes produced. Currently, potatoes must be treated with CIPC during cold storage to prevent sugar buildup, shrink and sprouting. Innate will reduce the need for additional chemical applications and help potatoes maintain their quality through Winter storage.
  • Higher value yields. Using Innate, it’s possible for a packer to experience an estimated 15% increased pack-out of fresh-grade potatoes, providing better per-acre utilization and value. It’s estimated that reduced shrink, bruising and blight could be worth $53M annually to potato growers in the fresh market alone (based on approx.. 17% of all potato crops)
  • Late Blight resistance: Using genes native to wildly cultivated potatoes, Innate will be naturally resistant to late blight, the cause of the Irish potato famine.
  • Less waste: With disease resistance and a higher quality potato that is less likely to be rejected due to bruising and sugar content, growers and packers will waste less, ensuring resources are optimized and organic/food waste is kept to a minimum.
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