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Day 9 : Potatoes

Unrelated to any memes associated online, for our first visit today, the class went to Universidad Austral de Chile to learn about Potato Genbank and Germplasm.

So far, we have covered more than 500 miles since we arrived in Chile and the region that we are on today (Valdivia) is considered the river region. It received 2800ml of rain per year and has many rivers in its surrounding.

Dr. Anita Behn is in charge of the potato program in the university and she started off by stating the goal of the program; to preserve the genetic diversity of the solanum spp. To reach her goal, she showed us the mind map that she uses for the potato breeding program. The mind map include collection, preservation, maintenance, breeding and data recording, and analysis. Currently her research is done with germplasm collection and are now preserving and maintaining the potatoes that she collected. She planted the potatoes in the field to have fresh seeds and also maintain them in tissue culture, in case if anything happens to the plants in the field. Now she is focusing her research on the breeding objectives which are to improve resistance to nematode, Potato Virus Y (PVY), Potato Virus X (PVX) and also the polygenic resistance to the late blight disease.

In addition to breeding potatoes for disease resistance, Dr. Behn is also working on breeding potatoes to meet the demand of consumers. She wants to breed potato varieties that will be great for specific use like one variety is great for mash potato while another variety will be great for producing bake potatoes. She mentioned that she is breeding the potato varieties only to satisfy the commercial demands and not local demand as Chileans do not have a ‘potato culture’. Potatoes here are seen as multi-purpose and no variety is used for specific recipe. It might take time for Chilean to adapt to use specific potato variety for specific recipe.

The second visit for today was the milking parlour next door and I will not elaborate on that as Casey’s post covered it extensively. You can read more about it here.

As for our third location before our picnic lunch, we visited a cut flower nursery. I feel writing about the place will not do it justice so I will let the pictures do the talking.

Cut flowers sprayed and stored in the cooler ready for shipment.

Swimming in flowers.

Chile national flower!
Lapageria rosea

Sorry for the late upload everyone! I wanted to include the pictures in my post.

 

Factors that contribute to biodiversity.

I always thought that nutrient rich environments support and promote biodiversity but this video from MinuteEarth explains it differently.
I have asked David, the creator for permission to share the video here. I thought we can all learn something from it.
Check the video out and maybe we can discuss about it in class!
Cheers.
Nor

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