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POTATO - Solanum tuberosum Linnaeus


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« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2008, 07:22:09 pm »









Toxicity
 


Potatoes contain glycoalkaloids, toxic compounds, of which the most prevalent are solanine and chaconine.

These compounds, which protect the plant from its predators, are generally concentrated in its leaves, stems, and sprouts. Exposure to light, physical damage, and age increase glycoalkaloid content within the tuber; the highest concentrations occur just underneath the skin. Cooking at high temperatures (over 170 °C or 340 °F) partly destroys these.

The concentration of glycoalkaloid in wild potatoes suffices to produce toxic effects in humans. Glycoalkaloids may cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps and in severe cases coma and death; however, poisoning from potatoes occurs very rarely. Light exposure causes greening, thus giving a visual clue as to areas of the tuber that may have become more toxic; however, this does not provide a definitive guide, as greening and glycoalkaloid accumulation can occur independently of each other. Some varieties of potato contain greater glycoalkaloid concentrations than others; breeders developing new varieties test for this, and sometimes have to discard an otherwise promising cultivar.

Breeders try to keep solanine levels below 200 mg/kg (200 ppmw). However, when these commercial varieties turn green, even they can approach concentrations of solanine of 1000 mg/kg (1000 ppmw). In normal potatoes, analysis has shown solanine levels may be as little as 3.5% of the breeders' maximum, with 7–187 mg/kg being found.

The US National Toxicology Program suggests that the average American consumes at most 12.5 mg/day of solanine from potatoes (the toxic dose is actually several times this, depending on body weight). Dr. Douglas L. Holt, the State Extension Specialist for Food Safety at the University of Missouri, notes that no reported cases of potato-source solanine poisoning have occurred in the U.S.
in the last 50 years and most cases involved eating green potatoes or drinking potato-leaf tea.

Solanine is also found in other plants, mainly in the mostly deadly nightshade family, which includes a minority of edible plants including the potato and the tomato, and other typically more dangerous plants like tobacco. This poison affects the nervous system causing weakness and confusion.
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« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2008, 07:23:56 pm »



SEED POTATO - VAR. 'EARLY ROSE'



Retrived from

wikipedia.org
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2009, 11:28:26 am »



ANDEAN POTATO FIELD








                                                 Saving the Potato in its Andean Birthplace






John Roach
for National Geographic News
June 10, 2002

The Spanish conquistadores toppled the Inca Empire in the 16th century in their quest for silver and gold. They returned to Europe with a different sort of earthly nugget dug from the elaborate terraces sculpted into the sides of the Andes—the potato.

Potatoes have since spread to nearly 150 countries around the world; hundreds of millions of tons are grown annually, and the potato has become a staple in the world's diet.

 
 But in the Andes, where the potato got its start, market forces, years of drought, and changes in cultural priorities are eroding the status and the diversity of the potato.


Nearly 4,000 different varieties of potato can be found in the Andes, and scientists, economists, and historians are racing to record and preserve the genetic diversity to ensure it does not disappear as suddenly as did the Inca Empire.
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2009, 11:30:14 am »




             









Cultural Roots



Scientists believe wild tubers were first domesticated around 8,000 years ago by farmers who lived
on the high plains and mountain slopes near Lake Titicaca, which borders modern day Bolivia and Peru.
The tubers grew well in the cold, harsh climate and quickly took root as a centerpiece around which
life revolved.

The potato "is considered to have been a pillar of Andean culture since domestication," said Merideth
Bonierbale, head of crop improvement and genetic resources at the International Potato Center (CIP)
in Lima, Peru.

Ritual ceremonies marked by singing, dancing, and drinking still take place throughout the year to ensure
a successful harvest. Young men playfully drag young women across potato fields to make the land fertile.
Cow horns and flutes are played to cheer on the plants and bring rains.

"There are also ways in which Andean farmers divine the state of the year, which crops will do best, and
where it is better to cultivate them: In the high puna or the lower valleys," said Denise Arnold, a researcher
at the Institute of Aymara Language and Culture (ILCA) in La Paz, Bolivia.

For example, farmers from the Aymara and Quechua regions of Bolivia and Peru time the planting of their
potatoes on the clarity of a constellation of stars known as the Pleiades.

When the constellation is bright and clear, the farmers expect early and abundant rains and a bountiful potato harvest and plant their crops in October. If the constellation is obscured by high cirrus clouds, the farmers anticipate drought and postpone their planting until November or early December.

Ben Orlove, an environmental scientist at the University of California at Davis, reported in the January 6, 2000
issue of the journal Nature that this folkloric forecast is an early predictor of the El Niño weather phenomenon, which causes severe drought during the normal growing season in the Andes.
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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2009, 11:35:04 am »




             









Potato Diversity

 

 Having divined the correct time of year to plant, an Andean farmer may sow his fields with more than 100 different varieties of potoato, according to the CIP, which holds planting material for about 3,800 varieties of potato grown in the Andes under the auspices of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

"Diversity is conserved on farms and in communities for subsistence use and as a highly valued heritage," said Bonierbale. Most of these varieties never see a market, but are traded amongst highland and lowland communities and given as gifts for weddings and other occasions.

The varieties, which come from eight species of Andean potato, differ from community to community.

Potatoes can be fat, skinny, lumpy or smooth; long, short, round, or square; red, yellow, white or green. There is also a wide range among the different varieties in terms of how they're grown, their nutritional values, amenability to storage, and use properties.

"We believe that diversity provides many types of risk avoidance, but inasmuch as many Andean communities have few other dietary components one can't help think that it also helps fend off boredom," said Bonierbale.

The diversity of potato varieties and the rhythm of life tied to the crop's cultivation, however, is showing the strains of modern life. CIP scientists speculate that years of drought in the Andes coupled with years of violence in Peru, during which many people left the highlands, has likely had a negative impact on potato diversity.

In addition, notes Arnold, young children are not compelled to carry on the traditions of their elders, who select different seeds every three years to ensure greater production, going to great lengths to exchange seeds with neighboring communities and to participate in communal harvests.

"Young people, spoiled at school and persuaded to reject their own cultural values, don't like doing
this," she said. "This is another reason for the reduction in varieties and skills of potato management."

The CIP, which aims to increase the production and use of the potato as a sustainable food source in developing countries, is working to ensure that the potato diversity and cultural heritage is not lost forever in the Andes.

For example, the center has delved into its vast seed bank to redistribute to communities the seeds
of lost varieties. To prevent farmers from replacing their native varieties with more commercially viable varieties, the center is helping to promote potato chips made from native varieties.

Although the degree to which the commercial varieties are replacing the native varieties in the Andes
is not well documented, Bonierbale has reason to believe that the native varieties and the culture they belong to will not disappear entirely.

"The special adaptation of the native potatoes to the highland conditions prevents this to some degree," she said. "They are better adapted to the growing conditions, and better meet traditional tastes and uses, than are bred potatoes, as well as carrying the intrinsic heritage value."



National Geographic
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2009, 11:42:26 am »









                                                    History of the Potato*






There is general agreement among contemporary botanists that the potato originated in the Andes, all the way from Colombia to northern Argentina, but with a concentration of genetic diversity, both in the form of cultivated and wild species, in the area of modern day Peru. The potatoes cultivated in the Andes are not all the same species. The major species is Solanum tuberosum ssp. andigena (a tetraploid with 48 chromosomes,) then there are four diploid species (with 24 chromosomes) by the names of Solanum stenotomum, Solanum phureja, Solanum goniocalyx and Solanum ajanhuiri. There are two triploid species (with 36 chromosomes) Solanum chaucha and Solanum juzepczukii, and finally, there is one pentaploid cultivated species (with 60 chromosomes) called Solanum curtilobum.

Andean potatoes are adapted to short day conditions and Chilean potatoes to long day conditions. There is sufficient evidence that the tetraploid Andean short day potato was the one that first arrived in Southern Spain in about 1565. From there it spread to the rest of Europe, adapting to European long day conditions in a period of about two hundred years. In order to botanically distinguish potatoes adapted to short days from those thriving and producing tubers under long day conditions, Solanum tuberosum has been split into two subspecies by present-day taxonomists, Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum (adapted to long days) and Solanum tuberosum ssp. andigena (adapted to short days.) Apart from their different photoperiodic reaction, these two subspecies are also distinct morphologically, though the differences are apparent only to an experienced taxonomist. Russian taxonomists did, in fact, create two different species in the early part of the 20th century, Solanum tuberosum and Solanum andigenum, to mark the same distinction. The process of adaptation to long days has happened once before as the potato moved from the Andes to the south of the continent. This was before the Europeans arrived in South America. Chile still has a large amount of valuable potato germplasm adapted to long days.

Historical and genetic evidence suggests that the potato reached India not very much later than Europe, probably taken there by the Portuguese. In isolated areas in the Himalayas of India and Nepal, so called "desi" potatoes are still grown, and they are very similar to the short day adapted modern Andean potato, Solanum tuberosum ssp. andigena.

There are about five thousand potato varieties world wide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. They belong to eight or nine species, depending on the taxonomic school. Apart from the five thousand cultivated varieties, there are about 200 wild species, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated species, which 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. The list of varieties found in European, North American or Asian markets is very limited, and these varieties are all of the same species, Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum.
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« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2009, 11:44:26 am »










These potatoes are often referred to as "Irish" potatoes in the English speaking world because of their association with the Great Irish Famine, which began in 1845 and lasted for six years. The Irish peasant population had become highly dependent on the potato because of the relatively large amount of food that could be produced on fairly small holdings. Immigrant farmers from the Palatinate region of Germany brought their own crops, such as turnips, to Western Ireland. They were much less dependent on the potato than their native Irish neighbors and were largely spared the effects of the potato famine. The disease killing the Irish potato crop was the late blight fungus Phytophthora infestans. The long lasting aftereffects of this famine are well known and well documented.

What is less well known is the role of the British during the potato famine. Rich aristocratic British landowners continued to export grain from Ireland to other parts of the world even as tens of thousands of Irish were dying of starvation. However, there were some British owned estates where not one Irish peasant starved during the famine. Authors like Salaman have written in detail about that situation, which has also been recognized by contemporary British historians.

Most modern potatoes grown in North America arrived through European settlement and not independently from the South American sources. Still, one wild potato species, Solanum fendleri, is found as far north as Texas and used in breeding for resistance to a nematode species attacking cultivated potatoes. A secondary center of genetic variability of the potato is Mexico, where important wild species are found that have been used extensively in modern breeding, such as the hexaploid Solanum demissum, as a source of resistance to the devastating late blight disease.

The potato became an important staple crop in northern Europe as the climate changed due to the Little Ice Age, when traditional crops in this region did not produce as reliably as before. At times when and where most other crops would fail, potatoes could still typically be relied upon to contribute adequately to food supplies during the colder years. The potato was not popular in France during this time, and it is believed that some of the infamous famines could have been lessened if French farmers had adopted it. Today, the potato forms an important part of the traditional cuisine of the British Isles, northern Europe, central Europe and eastern Europe. As of 2007, Germany has a higher consumption of potato per capita than any other country.




* As printed online at www.wikipedia.com. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. 



Pennsylvania Co-Operative Potato Growers, Inc. • 3107 N. Front Street, Suite 100 • Harrisburg, PA 17110-1328 • (717) 232-5300 • Fax: (717) 232-1885

©2007-2009 Pennsylvania Co-Operative Potato Growers, Inc. • Site Design by Sire Advertising.

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« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2009, 11:50:24 am »





             









                                                Andean potato peasants are "seed bankers"





In the home of the potato in South America, farmers have developed an immense diversity ofvarieties over the centuries, but these valuable genetic resources are endangered with thepromotion of "modern" potato production.

Albrecht Benzing spoke with Anibal and OrfelinaCorreo, peasant farmers in Ecuador, to find out more about the indigenous potato varieties they are trying to maintain.

Albrecht Benzing

"We easily let ourselves be talked into it", recalls Anibal Correo, a peasant in the village of Boliche in Ecuador. "Agronomists came and encouraged us to start a co-operative. They brought new potato seed and mineral fertiliser and set up field experiments. Of course, in the beginning it was obvious that the new seed and foreign fertiliser brought better yields.  Besides, we were used to thinking that anything coming from the gringos must be better than what we had."

I met Anibal Correo at a seminar for potato growers from different parts of the Ecuadorian highland, and then travelled one and a half days from Riobamba to Boliche in order to learn more about his farming methods and to add to our collection of indigenous potato varieties. Anibal is in his mid-40s, is married and has four children. He and his wife Orfelina grow potatoes in rotation with mashua, oca, melloco (three Andean tuber plants),field beans and barley at an altitude of 3500 m.

"Already in the second year I noticed that we were having more problems with the potatoes than we used to. And in the third year the cutworms started to increase in number. The agronomists then brought us fungicides and insecticides to fight the diseases and pests. But these inputs got more expensive each year, and you had to keep using more and more of them.  Besides, the potatoes tasted bitter if you sprayed them so much."  Anibal continued: "In the co-operative, I criticised the introduced techniques and said it would be better if we went back to our old ones. But the others didn't want to listen, because they still thought that the mineral fertilisers brought better yields. That's why I left the co-operative and now work only on my own land. I began to fertilise again like we used to and before long the pests became less of aproblem." 



His method of fertilising:

The sheep are kept overnight in a small enclosure on thefuture potato plot.  In this way, with very little labour input, urine and dung are deposited.  After two or three nights, the enclosure is moved to another part of the plot. The sheep dung,together with feed residues and weeds, is worked into the soil with a hoe.
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« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2009, 11:56:12 am »





             









Indigenous potato knowledge



Anibal and Orfelina still grow (as used to be common practice in the area) over 20 different potato varieties.
They know each by name and know where it comes from. They can describe the typical characteristics of the plants' flowers and leaves, and can differentiate the tubers by taste.

They know which varieties are susceptible to which diseases and climatic influences.

All the varieties are grown together in the same plot. "In a dry year," Anibal explained,"maybe some of the varieties don't yield so much, but then we still have the other potatoes which can put up with some dryness.

In a wet year, it can be just the opposite, and we're gladof the potatoes that aren't so liable to rot. There are some varieties which are more resistant tofrost, and others are more resistant to cutworms."


Only two types of potatoes are grown in separate plots: the varieties which are difficult to peel on account of their very deep eyes and are cooked in their skins and eaten as "kariuchu" together with pepperoni sauce; and the yellow and red "chauchas", which take only four months to mature and are harvested earlier than the other varieties.

This principle of the greatest possible diversification runs like a red thread through their entire farming system. For example, the Correo family has another piece of land "down below" at an altitude of about 2700 m, where they grow maize, beans, peas,wheat, gourds and pepperoni.

Sowing and harvest times differ according to altitude, so thework load can be spread over the year.

If particularly severe night frosts result in crop losseson the higher land, the family still has maize to eat. If the maize fares poorly in a dry year, a harvest can still be expected on the higher soils with their better water-holding capacity.






Not textbook knowledge



The next morning, while helping Anibal prepare the holes for potato planting, I asked him why he made the holes so deep.  In the agricultural textbooks, we had learned that potatoes should not be laid deeper than 5-10 cm under the soil surface, particularly in heavy soils.

He explained to me: "With the night frosts we have here, it often happens that even the mothertuber could freeze if she were lying too close to the soil surface."

And why, I asked, is he making the rows at an angle to the slope?  His reply: "Judging by the weather until now, this is going to be a wet year, and the water has to be able to run off so that the potatoes don't rot."

The detailed knowledge of Anibal and Orfelina about soils, climates and plants, and the potatoes varieties they continue to grow are of great importance for our work in Ecuador.

In co-operation with the Polytechnical College in Riobamba, the non-governmental organisation Eirene has been supporting investigations of traditional potato production and collection of indigenous potato varieties.
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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2009, 12:02:30 pm »





         









Diversity at peril



Potato growing has an extremely long tradition in this area.

Over 3000 years ago, Indians near Titicaca Lake close to what is now the border between Peru and Bolivia began to domesticate wild nightshade plants (Solanaceae) with small tubers.   

From there, these tuberous plants spread across the entire Andes area, already long before the Incas established their huge empire in the 15th century. It is thanks to the efforts of these "primitive" Indians that eight potatoes species with thousands of varieties are now grown in the Andes and that the most important of these species, Solanum tuberosum, has become the fourth most important foodplant in the world.

However, as a small number of high yielding cultivars are being introduced in the course of "agricultural development", the diversity of species and varieties in Andean potato growing is declining.

Recognising the danger of losing valuable genetic resources, the International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru has built up a gene bank with 4-5 thousand wild and cultivated potato varieties. This material is important not only for the Andes region; new German, Dutch or Russian cultivars will be created by crossing with the genetic material from the original home of the potato.





Maintaining diversity in the field


In contrast to CIP, the small project in Riobamba is not primarily concerned with maintaining gene
banks for breeding purposes. Instead, we are trying to maintain the genetic diversity on the fields
of the Andean farmers themselves.

We are trying to establish a small centre for the production of certified (above all, virus-free) seed from indigenous potato varieties. Thus far,certified seed is available only from the new "improved" varieties, and then only in small quantities and at prices too high for most Ecuadorian peasants. We hope that, by giving the peasant families access to high-quality local seed, we will help to avoid that they, one day, become dependent on foreign "miracle varieties" and the insecticides, herbicides, fungicides,
nematicides and various other "-cides" required to produce them.

The different indigenous varieties we collect are planted and multiplied in peasants' fields or village land at various altitudes, and the effects of diseases, pests and climatic influences are observed.

Many peasants at each site are curious and interested, and those who work together with us on the
trial plots receive half of the yield. Thus, some of the varieties threatened with extinction return home
or find new homes.



Albrecht BenzingApdo.
408Riobamba
EcuadorEIRENEEngerse Strasse 74bD-5450
Neuwied 1Germany



http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:OUFZmHi9mj8J:www.metafro.be/leisa/1989/5-4-12.pdf+andean+potato&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=96&gl=us
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« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2009, 12:10:25 pm »





             









                                                 Peru Celebrates Potato Diversity






By MONTE HAYES
The Associated Press
Sunday, June 24, 2007

AYMARA, Peru -- The humble potato puts on a dazzling display at 13,000 feet above sea level.

Along the frigid spine of the Andes, men and women in bare feet uproot tubers of multiple shapes and colors _ yellow, red, blue, purple, violet, pink with yellow spots, yellow with pink spots; round, oblong, twisted, hooked at the end like walking canes or spiraled like spinning tops.

 
Their names in Quechua, the ancient language of the Andes, evoke an intimate human connection: "best black woman," "best red woman," "makes the daughter-in-law cry," "like a deer's white tongue," "red shadow" and "like an old bone," to name a few.

Respect for the many variations of potatoes is so profound among Aymara's 650 villagers that it was a natural place for the world's agronomists to produce seeds for a gene bank to preserve their diversity. The cold climate also protects against parasites that infest low-lying potato farms.

In their annual harvest this year, the villagers of Aymara gathered more than 2,000 types of potatoes from a 2 1/2-acre field. Scientists from the Lima-based International Potato Center were there to replenish their bank and provide more seeds to Andean communities.

The center was founded in 1971 as a nonprofit, internationally financed research institution to improve production of potatoes and other root crops in developing nations. It maintains the world's largest collection of tubers _ 4,500 types, including 3,000 from Peru. They are kept as tiny plants in test tubes or in cold chambers.

It's one of some 1,500 gene banks around the world responsible for helping maintain biodiversity of food sources. Their scientists search for plants with certain traits _ such as resistance to cold, drought, insects and diseases _ that can be bred with commercial varieties.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for instance, keeps more than 2,500 apple varieties in Geneva, N.Y., adding to them regularly with new types of wild apples from Kazakhstan's forests, where botanists believe the apple originated.

The potato center's scientists have discovered dozens of varieties of wild potatoes and rescued hundreds of types of domesticated potatoes from oblivion after they had been abandoned by farmers.

Researcher Carlos Ochoa, dubbed the "Indiana Jones" of the potato world for risking encounters with Shining Path rebels and other hazards in remote Andean regions, has alone found more than 80 types of wild potatoes.

The potato originated in the Andes near Lake Titicaca, 12,500 feet above sea level, in what is now Peru, and has been eaten for at least 8,000 years, according to the center. It fed Incan armies as they expanded their empire along the Pacific coast of South America, and Spanish conquistadors brought it to Europe, said William Roca, a geneticist at the center.

The potato became the world's fourth most important food source, after wheat, corn and rice, proving so vital that it provoked a national famine when Ireland's potato crop was wiped out by a blight in the 1840s.
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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2009, 12:13:18 pm »





               









The Lima center, which provides seeds to communities that have lost their potato crops to diseases, freezes or a leftist insurgency, began helping Aymara improve its potato stock in 1990s.

"Our production was not good," said village leader Carlos Hidalgo, who himself grows about 180 brightly colored and oddly shaped varieties. "We said the soil must be tired. We did not realize it was the seeds."

 
Like other villagers, Hidalgo and his wife each eat an average of two pounds of tubers at every meal. Their four children eat almost as much. That's about 15 times what Americans consume.

Sometimes, she prepares them in a creamy soup, adding boiled eggs, dried lamb meat and crumbled Andean cheese. Usually she just boils them, choosing from dozens of varieties to produce a savory mix of flavors and nutrients. And during the harvest, the village women steam potatoes between layers of lamb in a communal underground pit called a "huatia."

"There are communities that live off only potatoes and people are healthy," said Walter Amoros, another gene researcher. "The potato is not a completely balanced food, but it has the basics for good nutrition."

Aymara's villagers complement their starch-heavy diet by loading up llamas, donkeys and horses and traveling to lower-lying communities, where they trade their prized crop for corn, barley and wheat.

Meanwhile, the women of Aymara rely on their ancestral knowledge of each tuber's virtues as they sort through hundreds of potatoes at harvest time, deciding which to eat, sell, store for seeds or trade to diversify their stock.

"Our parents and grandparents have taught us since we were children," said Susana Hidalgo Avila, a mother of six. "The knowledge is part of our nature."

_____




On the Net:

International Potato Center:



http://www.cipotato.org/
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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2009, 12:32:42 pm »



              








Andean farmers work during the potato harvest in Huancavelica, southern Peru, 3,950 meters above sea level, Monday, May 28, 2007.

The International Potato Center (CIP) based in Lima helps farmers who lost their harvest to conserve genetic samples. In Peru there are around three hundred varieties of potatoes; most of them only grow
at in the Andes at high altitudes.
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« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2009, 12:33:57 pm »



              







Farmers eat potatoes during the potato harvest in Huancavelica, southern Peru, 3,950 meters above sea level, Monday, May 28, 2007.

The International Potato Center (CIP) based in Lima helps farmers who lost their harvest to conserve genetic samples. In Peru there are around three hundred varieties of potatoes; most of them only grow
at in the Andes at high altitudes.
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« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2009, 12:49:56 pm »

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