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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 06:27 GMT
Researchers hail organic potatoes
Professor Carlo Leifert with the Hungarian 'purple' potato. Picture: North News
No chemicals are used on the potatoes. Picture: North News
The organic food industry has been given a boost after potatoes which can be grown without chemicals but resist deadly diseases have been identified.

A European study, led by researchers at Newcastle University, found up to 10 varieties which are resilient to the deadly fungal disease blight.

They also created 'designer composts' to increase organic potato crop yields.

The findings are being presented at a meeting on Thursday hosted by the Soil Association and Newcastle University.

Several varieties of organic potato are on supermarket shelves across the continent for the first time, thanks to the study.

Prof Carlo Leifert, behind the project, said: "Until now it's been hard to find varieties of potato that can be grown organically but can resist blight, and it's taken a lot of investigation to get this far.

"From a European perspective, you can't really find a 'one size fits all' solution to the organic problem - a potato that's popular with the Swiss may not suit what the British consumer wants for baked potato, mash and chips."

Among the newly-available organic potato selection are two Scottish varieties, Eve Balfour and Lady Balfour, and a "purple" potato from Hungary.





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SEE ALSO:
Organic veg box scheme expanding
24 Dec 04 |  Cornwall
Potato ring rot tests completed
24 Aug 04 |  Hereford/Worcs
Potato disease found in packing
02 Aug 04 |  Hereford/Worcs


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