Sustaining potato production through variety selection

2017 Research impact statement by Associate Research Professor Xinshun Qu, Ph.D.

The United States produces more than 43 billion pounds of potatoes annually on around 1.1 million acres with an approximate value of $4.3 billion.  Pennsylvania has a long history and tradition of growing potatoes and is one of the leading states in the production of potato chips.  To meet the constantly changing market demand and the varying growing conditions, Dr. Xinshun Qu and his team have established a program to effectively evaluate and select potato varieties that have qualities that are suitable for either processing or tablestock and have adaptation to Pennsylvania regions.  200 – 300 potato breeding clones/varieties are evaluated every year.  The selected best varieties are introduced to Pennsylvania growers through demonstration trials, commercial trials, reports and presentations.  For example, more than 1,000 growers visit PSU demonstration trials every year.  Recently, Dr. Qu and his colleagues identified four potato varieties for par-frying under Pennsylvania field conditions.  While par-fry processing is common in Europe, virtually no par-fry potato processing is done in North America.  Par-fried potato products provide a new opportunity for Pennsylvania potato growers.  Specialty potatoes, those that are small, have colored skin and perhaps colored flesh are increasing in market share in recent years.  The colored-flesh potatoes have high amount of anthocyanins and carotenoid which provide us with many health benefits.  An opportunity exists for PA potato growers to produce specialty potatoes to meet this increasing demand.  Dr. Qu and his team successfully evaluate and select these specialty varieties for Pennsylvania potato industry.

Contact Information

Xinshun Qu, Ph.D.
  • Associate Research Professor
Phone: 814-867-4928