PW-ACTUA potato breeding Tong presents new duo-box filler structure and the rewarding nature of a breeder’s work. ‘The result of all this is that now in 2019 we have an everinnovative and diverse range of varieties from which the whole world will benefit. The current potato industry in the Netherlands, with around 15 companies and 150 small growers, has developed fully in all the years he has described. In addition, it is well organised and has a leading position in the world.’ This joining of forces has led to efficiency and market expansion as a major plus point. ‘However, it will still be quite a challenge to maintain the broad diversity in the potato breeding sector and to keep smaller companies involved in this’, Van Loon also notes. And one of the remarkable research conclusions from the thesis that the sector may be attracted to is the proposition that ‘the availability of monopoly varieties has stimulated the development of commercial breeding much more than the remuneration based on plant breeders’ rights’. ● Phytophthora detection pick some of its leaves. Normally, you send them to a specialised laboratory for examination but, once you have a mini-lab, this is no longer necessary. You put each leaf to be examined in a small bottle supplied with the product. You wait for 15 minutes. During those 15 minutes, the chemical substances that the leaf continuously releases during growth are captured in the bottle. These are a kind of fragrances similar to pheromones. If a plant is diseased, the composition of the volatile substances changes and these are measurable, explains assistant professor Qingshan Wei who developed the test. After 15 minutes, you can open the bottle and insert a tube in the jar that is connected to the mini-lab attached to the smartphone. It contains an interchangeable test strip. This is a strip of paper that is infused with nanoparticles of reaction substances. It changes colour as soon as the leaf releases the odour of disease. The smartphone camera takes a picture of this and displays it on the screen. To test another leaf, you slide a new test strip into the mini-lab. According to Wei, the smartphone test is both faster and cheaper than existing systems. Growers all have smartphones in their pockets, can use them to perform the tests in the field and no longer have to wait a long time for the results of a laboratory far away. The case containing the mini-lab (which is nothing more than the test strip holder) will cost around 60 dollar, which is about 55 euros. The test strips will only cost a few eurocents each, according to the researchers. Currently, the mini-lab for the smartphone is not yet on the market, because the researchers first want to see if other diseases than Phytophthora can also be detected. ● The new Tong box filler can be equipped with a bunker with a capacity of 2.5 or 3.8 cubic metres. The British machine manufacturer Tong, builder of loading / unloading and grading lines, among other things, has recently designed a new duo-box filler, the Monstafill box filler. This happened in collaboration with potato trader and processor Cherry Hill Coolstores from North Tasmania. The aim was to build a box filler that ensures that tubers land softly in the bunkers and boxes combined with a high capacity, says Edward Tong. The new box filler can be equipped with a bunker with a capacity of 2.5 or 3.8 cubic metres. Underneath, you can place cubic boxes of various sizes. Above the bunkers, a conveyor belt is mounted with fall breakers that allow the potatoes to roll gently into the bunkers. The conveyor belt makes it possible to keep the filling process going. As a result, when using the largest bunker, a capacity of 55 tons per hour is possible. Furthermore, the box filler is equipped with an easy-to-use touch screen. Linking with other machines from an unloading / loading line allows you to switch the box filler on and off from a central point. The bunkers are also equipped with scales. This makes it possible to request weighing data and use it for management programmes as well. Tong will probably present the box filler at the upcoming edition of British Potato in Harrogate, UK, which will take place on 20 and 21 November. ● Potato World 2019 • number 3 11 Pagina 10

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