Project manager: Prof. Dr. Uwe Sonnewald / Adolf Kellermann
Scientific staff: Alexander Kaier
Potatoes not only serve as sustainable food but also as raw material for a wide range of industrial applications. While potatoes are undemanding to grow, climate change is challenging potato production, especially in Bavaria. Summer drought and heat already led to significant crop losses in recent years. Projected into the future, both potato cultivation and potato starch production could become unprofitable and thus be lost in Bavaria. Therefore, the aim of the project is to increase the heat and drought tolerance of potatoes to ensure their future cultivation in Bavaria despite climate change. To achieve this aim, three central problems of the climate adaptation of potatoes will be addressed: improving water use efficiency, increasing assimilate partitioning from leaves to tubers, and maintaining storage starch synthesis under stress conditions. Variability in heat and drought tolerance of cultivars will be phenotyped and both molecular and biochemical backgrounds will be assessed.