Science News

From Purple Carrots to Purple Spuds

Sat, 25th May 2002

Part of the show What is a Virus and How do Viruses Cause Disease - Stacey Efstathiou

You may recall the purple carrots we mentioned last month from Victorian times that are set to make a comeback. Well now there are purple potatoes waiting to join them. So why purple? Professor Carlo Leifert, an agriculture researcher at Newcastle University has found that this purple potato variety possesses natural resistance to blight, which is a fungal disease which causes potato farmers problems. Blight actually costs farmers in the developing World $3 billion every year. Liefert has suggested that this new potato could revive the slumping organic potato industry. The purple potato isn't genetically engineered, but actually originated in Hungary. It is very good at growing in poor soils as well.

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