Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is known as one of the most sensitive crops in respect to disease infestation, resulting in a large negative impact on yield and tuber quality in Bangladesh. Among all potato diseases, Late Blight (LB) ensued by the pathogen Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary, causes serious crop damage followed by yield reduction. Usually, farmers are applying excessive fungicide or altering agronomic practices for controlling this devastating disease, which leads to great financial loss as well as poses a threat to food security, human health, and environment. However, the most effective and efficient way to control the disease is with host plant resistance or resistant variety. Developing resistant varieties by using conventional breeding method is time-consuming, as well as less effective. Nowadays it is very much possible to develop resistant potato variety against LB by using molecular breeding technologies within a short period.

According to the gene-for-gene concept, resistance against any disease by host plant to contain a specific resistance gene/s (R gene) or virulence gene that interact with the parallel virulence gene having in the pathogen. Identifying, isolating, and introducing specific R gene/s to a high yielding potato variety would be the first step of developing resistant variety. Through Marker Assisted Breeding, F1 lines can be shortened in number, containing desired resistant gene/s with high level of expression, by using specific gene marker. Besides screening under artificial inoculums pressure would be applied final screening in both laboratory and field environments.

In this regard, it is our pleasure to announce that ACI has already developed three potato varieties through molecular breeding having high level of resistance to late blight disease, namely ACI LBR Pakri-1, ACI LBR Aster, and ACI LBR Karez by introducing specific R gene/s. The varieties were selected from a large number of progenies through marker-assisted selection, having R gene/s that was reflected in the field as well as under artificial inoculums pressure. ACI-developed LB resistant potato varieties are high yielding, require low production cost, and provide high income for the farmers.

Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO
ACI Agribusiness