The potato is an incredibly important crop in the world. Despite its popularity, surprisingly little is known about a particular stage of its life cycle; the seedling stage from true seed*.
The way potatoes grow from such seed has barely been described. This is one of the aspects that my research will change. I am -for the first time- describing the root system of potato plants that grow from the botanical seed. Furthermore, I am characterizing which root system architectures are most adapted to growing in sub-optimal conditions; in high-salt concentrations, and in low nutrient-concentrations (e.g. on nitrogen-deficient medium). Besides, I am researching the physiological, molecular and genetic frameworks underlying root vigour and root plasticity of the potato.
Ultimately, my research will yield much needed knowledge on the potato root system that may result in potatoes that can grow without as many agricultural inputs, and in marginal environments.
* In case you didn’t know before: the potato can reproduce not only through its tubers, but also through seed! This is called True Potato Seed / botanical seed, which can be found in berries that the potato produces after successful pollination.