2015 Volume 65 Issue 1 Pages 77-84
The combined total annual yield of six major crops (maize, rice, wheat, cassava, soybean, and potato; Solanum tuberosum L.) amounts to 3.1 billion tons. In recent years, staple crops have begun to be used as substitutes for fossil fuel and feedstocks. The diversion of crop products to fuels and industrial feedstocks has become a concern in many countries because of competition for arable lands and increased food prices. These concerns are definitely justified; however, if plant biotechnology succeeds in increasing crop yields to double the current yields, it will be possible to divert the surplus to purposes other than food without detrimental effects. Maize, rice, wheat, and soybean bear their sink organs in the aerial parts of the plant, and potato in the underground parts. Plants with aerial storage organs cannot accumulate products beyond their capacity to support the weight of these organs. In contrast, potato has heavy storage organs that are supported by the soil. In this mini-review, we introduce strategies of intensifying potato productivity and discuss recent advances in this research area.