The Canadian government has announced $1.83 million for an research project involving international partners looking at potatoes and potato pests at a genetic level.

Parliamentary Secretary Gerald Keddy, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced the funding Fredericton on Tuesday.

potatoesAccording to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, researchers will use new data about the DNA of potatoes to identify genes that indicate when the plant is experiencing stress, with the goal of turning this information into diagnostic tools that can be used in the field. DNA sequencing will also be used to study how soil microbes impact common scab in potatoes.

“This is a great example of bio-technology being used to develop innovative strategies to meet challenges in one of our traditional sectors,” said Meaghan Seagrave, executive director of BioNB, one of the partners in the project, in a statement. “We look forward to working with our partners and commercializing the resulting technologies that will lead to increased yields and overall profits for farmers and a stronger and more sustainable potato industry.”

Industry partners in the potato research project will be contributing another $821,800. Along with BioNB, they include Potatoes New Brunswick, Comité Nord Plants des Pommes de Terre, Quebec-based potato operations Ferme Daniel Bolduc Inc. and Maxi-Sol Inc., Plant and Food Research New Zealand and France-based company CCL.

The funds are coming from the Research and Development stream of the AgriInnovation Program under Growing Forward 2.

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