Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is the top most non grain food commodity and because of its global consumption1, nutritional significance as well as unusual features2, the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged 2008 as the International Year of the Potato (IYP). The purpose of this particular event was to highlight the basic value of potatoes as a staple food and preservation of novel varieties to enhance the output and nutritional content, as well as to control pests and diseases3.
As a result of genetic erosion of agricultural plant resources, experts are focusing to protect and conserve crop biodiversity4, through promotion of agro-biodiversity, especially in protected area. For this reason, detailed investigations were performed to examine the quantitative and qualitative properties of different potato ecotypes in numerous areas5.
Accordingly, in the Pollino National Park (PNP), which is the biggest protected area in Italy; current investigations have highlighted the richness of the genetic resources of agricultural interest. In this regard, many prehistoric fruit varieties, ecotypes of cereals, legumes as well as horticultural crop 6, have been listed inside the park.
The promotions of conventional and local varieties of potato which are still grown in small areas of this park area are in progress. Some of these ecotypes including Patata Rossa di Terranova di Pollino, are also present in the PAT list (commodities which are approved as Traditional Food Product).
Due to these facts Anna Rita Rivelli and Susanna De Maria7 conducted a research to assess the agronomic performances and tuber properties of many local potato varieties, which are still cultivated in small towns in the Pollino National Park. This investigation was performed at the “Pollino” Experimental Agricultural Farm Station, located in Rotonda (Potenza, Italy). For this purpose, scientists compared 8 local potato varieties with 3 commercial varieties and determined the number of leaves and inflorescences as well as plant height during the growing cycle. Whereas, the weight, size and number of tubers per plant were measured at the harvesting stage and examined through one-way ANOVA.
According to outcomes of this study, the local cultivars of potatoes (Patata Rossa di Terranova di Pollino as well as Patata Bianca di Terranova di Pollino being the most productive) grown in Pollino exhibited considerable vegetative and productive performances. Moreover, great adaptability was also noted in the commercial varieties Marabel and Desiree to the pedo-climatic conditions of the high altitude areas of the park, providing similar tuber production to those obtained in other areas of cultivation and of diverse altitudes. These findings can pave a way for detailed research regarding the qualitative and nutritional characteristics of the tubers to promote local germplasm conservation.
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18 August, 2019