A lifetime of potato science recognised

27 July 2017

Potato New Zealand has honoured the man behind many a New Zealand potato, Plant & Food Research potato breeder John Anderson, with this year’s chairman’s award for service to the industry.

John has 46 years’ experience in potato science and managed the crop research station in Pukekohe for 17 years. He has specialised in breeding pest- and disease-resistant cultivars, and researching alternatives to chemical treatment and sugar accumulation in cold storage.

His most successful cultivar, Moonlight, accounted for 20% of planted area by 2011 when the invading tomato potato psyllid developed a taste for it but, at 10%, it is still the third largest cultivar  in total area. This invasion sharpened John’s focus on the genetics of resistance, an important tool in identifying pest- and disease-tolerant potato germplasm and cultivars.

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