Seedstocks & Tissue Culture

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The Seed Department maintains a clone bank and produces high quality tissue culture plantlets and certified minitubers for the certified seed potato industry. The sterile tissue culture laboratory, greenhouse and material handling complex located in Fargo operate under strict quarantine standards to produce the highest quality prenuclear seed products available to the industry.

Tissue culture clones originate from sources such as:

  • North Dakota State University breeding program
  • Colorado State University
  • Colorado Potato Certification Service
  • Cornell University - Uihlein Farm
  • University of Idaho
  • Maine Seed Potato Board - Porter Seed Farm
  • Montana State University
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison

All clones are tested for viruses and bacteria and propagated in sterile media. Plantlets are grown in the greenhouse in two crop cycles and inspected twice each cycle. Inspections include visual screenings and ELISA virus testing of leaf tissue. Within 70 days, the plantlets produce nuclear seed called minitubers. Following harvest, the minitubers are sized, bagged, labeled and stored until they are shipped to customers.

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Tissue Culture Process

The Seed Department is the official repository for disease-free potato plantlets maintained by tissue culture. These are derived from newly released varieties and strain selections of established varieties. Tubers from these varieties are sprouted, then nodes from these sprouts are aseptically transferred to media in tissue culture. The resulting plantlets are tested for viruses and bacteria. If determined positive for disease, meristematic tissue from the plantlet is treated with chemotherapy and heat regimens which can generate disease-free plantlets. Infected plantlets are discarded. Disease-free plantlets are then increased through micro-propagation for eventual greenhouse transplanting. 

 

Disease Testing

Mother plantlets are cut into sections for disease testing & further multiplication. The mother plantlets are tested for the following:

  • Potato Virus Y (PVY), X, S, A, M, Potato Latent Virus (PotLV), Tomato Spotted Wilt (TSWV), Mop Top, GMO & Potato Leaf Roll Virus (PLRV) by ELISA test
  • Potato Spindle Tuber Viroid (PSTV) by Dot blot hybridization
  • Bacterial Ring Rot (BRR) and Dickeya species by PCR
  • Pectobacterium species by ELISA test

 

Greenhouse Production

Two crops of minitubers are produced in the greenhouse each year. Greenhouse production is based on orders received from growers each fall. Tissue culture production begins approximately four months prior to greenhouse planting dates to generate enough plantlets to meet orders. Plantlets are transplanted into greenhouse beds to produce minitubers. Each crop is constantly monitored for moisture and fertilizer needs, and for insect or disease presence. One percent of the plant population is serologically tested for virus incidence. Vines are desiccated when minitubers reach a proper size. After skin set, minitubers are harvested and stored at 36 – 38F with 95% relative humidity.

Tissue Culture Stock Varieties

The department maintains 131 entries in the clone bank, which includes 67 varieties and 80 selections. Plantlets and microtubers are used for in vitro storage. Varieties banked are as follows:

 

All Blue Dakota Ruby ND 5002-1R Red Pontiac
Alpine Dakota Russet ND 5775-3 Red Ruby
Alturas Dakota Trailblazer ND 6002-1R Redsen
Atlantic Dark Red Norland ND 7132-1R Russet Burbank
Bannock Gem Russet ND7799C-1 Russet Norkotah
Blazer Goldrush ND 7818-1Y Russet Norkotah 8
Cal Red IDA Rose Norqueen Sangre
Cal White Itasca DC NorValley Shepody
Cascade Ivory Crisp Pike Silverton Russet
Chieftain Kennebec Premier Snowden
Clearwater LaChipper Purple Viking Teton Russet
Colorado Rose Lamoka Ranger Russet Umatilla Russet
Dakota Crisp LaRouge Red Cloud Viking
Dakota Diamond Manistee Red Endeavor Waneta
Dakota Jewel Modoc Red LaSoda Yokon Gem
Dakota Pearl Monona Red LaSoda NY Yukon Gold
Dakota Rose ND 4659-5R Red Norland  

 

Purchasing and Delivery

To Place an Order:

  1. Call Sue Merkens at 701-219-4303 or;
  2. Go to the Forms section and print the order form and submit by one of the following methods
    • Email orders to Sue Merkens at smerkens@ndseed.ndsu.edu
    • Fax orders to (701) 231-5401
    • Mail orders to ND State Seed Department, PO Box 5257, Fargo ND 58105-5257

 

Greenhouse Minitubers

  • $38.00 per pound for orders over 60 pounds
  • $45.00 per pound for orders under 60 pounds
  • Prices do not include shipping

 

Tissue Culture Plantlets

  • $45.00 per box (25 sterile plantlets)
  • Includes documentation of testing
  • Shipping and packaging fees may apply

 

A 40% deposit is required on all orders.

Customers will be contacted approximately two weeks before shipping to determine if dormant (from cold storage) or field-ready seed should be shipped.

 

Additional Resources

Mini-Tuber Order Form