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The potato is a root vegetable native to the Americas , a starchy tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum , and the plant itself, a perennial in the family Solanaceae. Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas, from the United States to southern Chile. In the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia , from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex, potatoes were domesticated approximately 7,—10, years ago. Potatoes were introduced to Europe from the Americas in the second half of the 16th century by the Spanish.
Today they are a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world's food supply. As of , potatoes were the world's fourth-largest food crop after maize corn , wheat , and rice. Following millennia of selective breeding , there are now over 1, different types of potatoes. The importance of the potato as a food source and culinary ingredient varies by region and is still changing. It remains an essential crop in Europe, especially Northern and Eastern Europe, where per capita production is still the highest in the world, while the most rapid expansion in production over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia , with China and India leading the world in overall production as of Being a nightshade similar to tomatoes , the vegetative and fruiting parts of the potato contain the toxin solanine and are not fit for human consumption.
Normal potato tubers that have been grown and stored properly produce glycoalkaloids in amounts small enough to be negligible to human health, but if green sections of the plant namely sprouts and skins are exposed to light, the tuber can accumulate a high enough concentration of glycoalkaloids to affect human health. The English word potato comes from Spanish patata the name used in Spain. The 16th-century English herbalist John Gerard referred to sweet potatoes as common potatoes , and used the terms bastard potatoes and Virginia potatoes for the species we now call potato.
The name spud for a small potato comes from the digging of soil or a hole prior to the planting of potatoes. The word has an unknown origin and was originally c. It subsequently transferred over to a variety of digging tools. Around , the name transferred to the tuber itself, the first record of this usage being in New Zealand English. Pei writes, "the potato, for its part, was in disrepute some centuries ago. The initials of the main words in this title gave rise to spud.
They bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens. In general, the tubers of varieties with white flowers have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins. Tubers form in response to decreasing day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties. After flowering, potato plants produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes , each containing about seeds.
Like all parts of the plant except the tubers, the fruit contain the toxic alkaloid solanine and are therefore unsuitable for consumption. All new potato varieties are grown from seeds, also called "true potato seed", "TPS" or "botanical seed" to distinguish it from seed tubers. New varieties grown from seed can be propagated vegetatively by planting tubers, pieces of tubers cut to include at least one or two eyes, or cuttings, a practice used in greenhouses for the production of healthy seed tubers.
Plants propagated from tubers are clones of the parent, whereas those propagated from seed produce a range of different varieties. There are about 5, potato varieties worldwide. They belong to eight or nine species, depending on the taxonomic school. Apart from the 5, cultivated varieties, there are about wild species and subspecies, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated varieties. Cross-breeding has been done repeatedly to transfer resistances to certain pests and diseases from the gene pool of wild species to the gene pool of cultivated potato species.
Genetically modified varieties have met public resistance in the United States and in the European Union. The major species grown worldwide is Solanum tuberosum a tetraploid with 48 chromosomes , and modern varieties of this species are the most widely cultivated. There are also four diploid species with 24 chromosomes : S.
There are two triploid species with 36 chromosomes : S. There is one pentaploid cultivated species with 60 chromosomes : S. There are two major subspecies of Solanum tuberosum : andigena , or Andean; and tuberosum , or Chilean. Enriching and preserving the gene bank collection to make potatoes adaptive to diverse environmental conditions is seen as a pressing issue due to climate change.
Most modern potatoes grown in North America arrived through European settlement and not independently from the South American sources, although at least one wild potato species, Solanum fendleri , naturally ranges from Peru into Texas, where it is used in breeding for resistance to a nematode species that attacks cultivated potatoes. A secondary center of genetic variability of the potato is Mexico, where important wild species that have been used extensively in modern breeding are found, such as the hexaploid Solanum demissum , as a source of resistance to the devastating late blight disease.
Potatoes yield abundantly with little effort, and adapt readily to diverse climates as long as the climate is cool and moist enough for the plants to gather sufficient water from the soil to form the starchy tubers. Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to moulds that feed on the stored tubers and quickly turn them rotten, whereas crops such as grain can be stored for several years with a low risk of rot. The yield of Calories per acre about 9. There are close to 4, varieties of potato including common commercial varieties, each of which has specific agricultural or culinary attributes.
The distinction may also arise from variation in the comparative ratio of two different potato starch compounds: amylose and amylopectin. Amylose, a long-chain molecule, diffuses from the starch granule when cooked in water, and lends itself to dishes where the potato is mashed.
Varieties that contain a slightly higher amylopectin content, which is a highly branched molecule, help the potato retain its shape after being boiled in water. Anthocyanins mainly responsible for red or blue pigmentation in potato cultivars do not have nutritional significance, but are used for visual variety and consumer appeal.
Genetic research has produced several genetically modified varieties. Waxy potato varieties produce two main kinds of potato starch, amylose and amylopectin , the latter of which is most industrially useful. BASF developed the Amflora potato, which was modified to express antisense RNA to inactivate the gene for granule bound starch synthase , an enzyme which catalyzes the formation of amylose.
In , the European Commission cleared the way for 'Amflora' to be grown in the European Union for industrial purposes only—not for food. Nevertheless, under EU rules, individual countries have the right to decide whether they will allow this potato to be grown on their territory. Commercial planting of 'Amflora' was expected in the Czech Republic and Germany in the spring of , and Sweden and the Netherlands in subsequent years. Simplot Company , which contains genetic modifications that prevent bruising and produce less acrylamide when fried than conventional potatoes; the modifications do not cause new proteins to be made, but rather prevent proteins from being made via RNA interference.
The potato was first domesticated in the region of modern-day southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia  between and BC. The earliest archaeologically verified potato tuber remains have been found at the coastal site of Ancon central Peru , dating to BC. According to conservative estimates, the introduction of the potato was responsible for a quarter of the growth in Old World population and urbanization between and Following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire , the Spanish introduced the potato to Europe in the second half of the 16th century, part of the Columbian exchange.
The staple was subsequently conveyed by European mariners to territories and ports throughout the world. The potato was slow to be adopted by European farmers, but soon enough it became an important food staple and field crop that played a major role in the European 19th century population boom.
In , a plant disease known as late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete Phytophthora infestans , spread rapidly through the poorer communities of western Ireland as well as parts of the Scottish Highlands , resulting in the crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine. It remains an essential crop in Europe especially northern and eastern Europe , where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia.
In an amount measuring grams 3. The potato is rarely eaten raw because raw potato starch is poorly digested by humans. Potatoes are often broadly classified as having a high glycemic index GI and so are often excluded from the diets of individuals trying to follow a low-GI diet. The GI of potatoes can vary considerably depending on the cultivar or cultivar category such as "red", russet , "white", or King Edward , growing conditions and storage, preparation methods by cooking method, whether it is eaten hot or cold, whether it is mashed or cubed or consumed whole , and accompanying foods consumed especially the addition of various high-fat or high-protein toppings.
In the UK, potatoes are not considered by the National Health Service NHS as counting or contributing towards the recommended daily five portions of fruit and vegetables , the 5-A-Day program. This table shows the nutrient content of potatoes next to other major staple foods, each one measured in its respective raw state, even though staple foods are not commonly eaten raw and are usually sprouted or cooked before eating.
In sprouted and cooked form, the relative nutritional and anti-nutritional contents of each of these grains or other foods may be different from the values in this table. Each nutrient every row has the highest number highlighted to show the staple food with the greatest amount in a gram raw portion. Potatoes contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids , of which the most prevalent are solanine and chaconine. Solanine is found in other plants in the same family, Solanaceae , which includes such plants as deadly nightshade Atropa belladonna , henbane Hyoscyamus niger and tobacco Nicotiana spp.
These compounds, which protect the potato plant from its predators, are generally concentrated in its leaves, flowers, sprouts, and fruits in contrast to the tubers. The glycoalkaloid content was, in order from highest to lowest: flowers, sprouts, leaves, skin [ clarification needed ] , roots, berries, peel [skin plus outer cortex of tuber flesh], stems, and tuber flesh. Exposure to light, physical damage, and age increase glycoalkaloid content within the tuber.
The concentration of glycoalkaloids in wild potatoes is sufficient to produce toxic effects in humans. Glycoalkaloid poisoning may cause headaches, diarrhea , cramps , and, in severe cases, coma and death. However, poisoning from cultivated potato varieties is very rare.
Light exposure causes greening from chlorophyll synthesis, giving a visual clue as to which areas of the tuber may have become more toxic. However, this does not provide a definitive guide, as greening and glycoalkaloid accumulation can occur independently of each other.
Different potato varieties contain different levels of glycoalkaloids. The Lenape variety was released in but was withdrawn in as it contained high levels of glycoalkaloids. In normal potatoes, analysis has shown solanine levels may be as little as 3. Potatoes are generally grown from seed potatoes, tubers specifically grown to be free from disease and to provide consistent and healthy plants.
To be disease free, the areas where seed potatoes are grown are selected with care. In the US, this restricts production of seed potatoes to only 15 states out of all 50 states where potatoes are grown. In the UK, most seed potatoes originate in Scotland , in areas where westerly winds reduce aphid attack and the spread of potato virus pathogens.
Potato growth can be divided into five phases. During the first phase, sprouts emerge from the seed potatoes and root growth begins. During the second, photosynthesis begins as the plant develops leaves and branches above-ground and stolons develop from lower leaf axils on the below-ground stem. In the third phase the tips of the stolons swell forming new tubers and the shoots continue to grow and flowers typically develop soon after.
Tuber bulking occurs during the fourth phase, when the plant begins investing the majority of its resources in its newly formed tubers. At this phase, several factors are critical to a good yield: optimal soil moisture and temperature, soil nutrient availability and balance, and resistance to pest attacks. The fifth phase is the maturation of the tubers: the plant canopy dies back, the tuber skins harden, and the sugars in the tubers convert to starches.
New tubers may start growing at the surface of the soil. Since exposure to light leads to an undesirable greening of the skins and the development of solanine as a protection from the sun's rays, growers cover surface tubers. Commercial growers cover them by piling additional soil around the base of the plant as it grows called "hilling" up, or in British English "earthing up". An alternative method, used by home gardeners and smaller-scale growers, involves covering the growing area with organic mulches such as straw or plastic sheets.
Where are potatoes grown? Smaller Region. Until the early s, most potatoes were grown and consumed in Europe, North America and countries of the former Soviet Union. Since then, there has been a dramatic increase in potato production and demand in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where output rose from less than 30 million tonnes in the early s to more than million tonnes in FAO data show that in , for the first time, the developing world's potato production exceeded that of the developed world.
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Potatoes, production quantity tons - for all countries. Overview Overview The series "Potatoes" contains 42, data rows in 6 data sets for countries. Definition Definition Solanum tuberosum Irish potato. A seasonal crop grown in temperate zones all over the world, but primarily in the northern hemisphere.
Potato Facts and Figures
The potato is a root vegetable native to the Americas , a starchy tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum , and the plant itself, a perennial in the family Solanaceae. Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas, from the United States to southern Chile. In the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia , from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex, potatoes were domesticated approximately 7,—10, years ago. Potatoes were introduced to Europe from the Americas in the second half of the 16th century by the Spanish. Today they are a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world's food supply. As of , potatoes were the world's fourth-largest food crop after maize corn , wheat , and rice.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Potato Production in South Australia (2 mins)
Potatoes, production quantity (tons) - for all countries
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The potato Solanum tuberosum belongs to the solanaceae family of flowering plants. More than a billion people worldwide eat potato, and global total crop production exceeds million metric tons. They come in many sizes and shapes. There are also over wild potato species. Though they are too bitter to eat, their important biodiversity includes natural resistances to pests, diseases, and climatic conditions. The new plant can produce new tubers, which will be genetic clones of the mother seed plant. Potato plants also produce flowers and berries that contain botanical seeds. These can be planted to produce new tubers, which will be genetically different from the mother plant. Potatoes can grow from sea level up to 4, meters above sea level; from southern Chile to Greenland.
Revised October Potatoes Solanum tuberosum are the fourth most important food crop in the world and the leading vegetable crop in the United States. NASS Potatoes were first cultivated around B. At that time, potatoes served a wide variety of uses, such as healing broken bones and measuring time.
Seed potato is usually the most expensive input to potato cultivation, accounting for from 30 to 50 percent of production costs. In areas of developing countries where no formal seed supply system exists, farmers have devised their own ad hoc method for selecting seed tubers: they sell the largest potatoes for cash, eat the medium-sized ones at home, and keep the smallest as future planting material. Potato is grown in more than countries, under temperate, subtropical and tropical conditions. For that reason, potato is planted in early spring in temperate zones and late winter in warmer regions, and grown during the coolest months of the year in hot tropical climates. In some sub-tropical highlands, mild temperatures and high solar radiation allow farmers to grow potatoes throughout the year, and harvest tubers within 90 days of planting in temperate climates, such in northern Europe, it can take up to days. The potato is a very accommodating and adaptable plant, and will produce well without ideal soil and growing conditions. However, it is also subject to number of pests and diseases. To prevent the build-up of pathogens in the soil, farmers avoid growing potato on the same land from year to year.
U.S. potato production by state 2018
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The EU potato sector - statistics on production, prices and trade
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