Many new potato varieties are bred each year. In order to be eligible for marketing as seed potatoes, a variety must undergo 2 years of official trialling before it can be accepted on to the National List of an EU Member State and then automatically on to the Common Catalogue which is a compilation of EU National Lists. A guide to UK National Listing of Varieties may be obtained from the Plant Variety Rights Office or from the National Listing page on the fera website.
National List trialling involves testing for Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) and Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU). The emphasis for potato VCU is on resistance to diseases and defects important in potato production in the UK. SASA is the main centre for official potato variety testing in the UK, being responsible for DUS testing as well as the VCU testing in conjunction with NIAB. This official testing is also co-ordinated with Independent Variety Trialling funded by industry through Potato Council Ltd to ensure effective use of resources and maximisation of independent information for industry.
SASA conducts disease, pest and defect tests described in more detail on the Disease Testing page. The current protocols and procedures governing UK National List Trials are maintained by Fera.
If independent testing is required by commercial customers, tests can be modified accordingly.
Disease, pest and damage susceptibility ratings obtained during National List Trials for new varieties are available on the Potato Council's British Potato Variety Database together with results from Independent Variety Trial tests. Additional information on these varieties may also be found on the European Cultivated Potato Database.
DNA Fingerprinting - the identity of potato varieties can now be established by a DNA test in which any part of the potato or its product can be tested and compared against a database of 1,000 potato varieties.
For further information, contact Heather Campbell on +44(0)131 244 8938 or by email.
See the Potato Training Courses page for information on courses available from SASA.
View a list of publications in this area.