EUROPLANT breeds success

Breeding of a new potato variety is the basis for the success of our potatoes

Successful breeding work implies knowing today what will be in line with the market tomorrow. Together with our colleagues at Böhm-Nordkartoffel Agrarproduktion GmbH & Co. OHG (BNA) and their breeding partners, we work every day to develop potato varieties that can compete in national and international markets.

On the three German Böhm-Nordkartoffel Agrarproduktion GmbH & Co. OHG (BNA) breeding stations in Kaltenberg (Bavaria), Ebstorf (Lower Saxony) and Böhlendorf (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), combinations are crossed to produce more than 1,000 new genetic variations each year. As a biotechnological centre of excellence, BNA is also responsible for basic research.

The main objectives of modern potato breeding are commitment to healthy nutrition, environmentally friendly production methods, and protection of natural resources.

Our EUROPLANT varieties are classically bred using conventional breeding techniques from non-genetically modified crossing partners.

In close collaboration with the scientific competence and the comprehensive breeding expertise of Böhm-Nordkartoffel Agrarproduktion GmbH & Co. OHG (BNA), we have been taking a leading position in our industry for many years.

Research and Development

Adaptation and optimisation of our breeding work

Due to increased market requirements and ultimate consumer needs, our different potato varieties have to undergo permanent specific application adaptations and optimisation processes. Therefore, all efforts in research and development are continuously aimed at adapting and optimising the potato varieties on offer.

Our market-oriented research, which seeks close co-operations with the industrial sector, is further anxious to develop innovative potato varieties for new areas of application.

As a member of the German Plant Breeders' Association, we are involved in collective research projects of potato breeding companies and scientific institutions. Current research subjects are dealing with pathogens of potato diseases and with the optimisation of the potato as a source of starch.

Breeding Progress

We only select the best

Our sister-company Böhm-Nordkartoffel Agrarproduktion GmbH & Co. OHG (BNA) is doing more than 1000 crossings every year. The initial crossings are based on selected parent plants from a large gene pool of breeding material and the international range of varieties. The parent plants are crossed with each other with the objective of the desired quality and the further breeding goals.

The breeding and approval process of a new variety usually takes ten years. During this time, the new varieties are tested for more than forty characteristics. Next to the outer tuber characteristics and foliage ratings, there will be yield measurement, resistance and quality tests for the different uses of our potatoes.

The selection process starts with over 300,000 seeds, which grow up to little seedlings in our glasshouses and are going to the fields afterwards. Each of those seedlings own a different genotype and could be a potential new variety. In the course of the annual selection, the number of the seedlings reduces enormously. After eight years only a handful of candidates are doing the next step to the official test in one of the federal plant variety offices in the EU. Having passed successfully the official tests during two years the new breed will be a variety. After approval by the German Seed Marketing Act, the new variety can be traded commercially. The breeder receives the plant breeders’ rights of the new variety.

BNA has four breeding stations in different parts of Germany

  • Böhlendorf – Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania
  • Ebstorf – Lower Saxony
  • Kaltenberg – Bavaria
  • Idaho Falls - USA

The following stations from our breeding partners complete our breeding activities

  • Dr. R.J. Mansholt’s Veredelingsbedrijf (Netherlands)
  • Zuchtbetrieb R. Jacobs (Germany)
  • Saatzucht Berding (Germany)
  • Saatzucht Pohl (Germany)
  • Sativa Kerkov (Czech Republic)

At 40 trial stations, we test the suitability for cultivation and the quality of our new breeding lines.

In addition, we have a wide range of contacts and breeding partnerships abroad, which form a successful breeding network with our German locations.

Current methods of molecular biology have been an integral part of our breeding work for many years.

  • The In-vitro culture – forms the principal technique of the maintenance and rapid multiplication of our potato varieties.
  • ELISA-test – an immunobiological procedure for the detection of potato viral diseases.
  • PCR-technique – allows the fast identification of varieties or breeding lines through genetic fingerprinting, as well as the examination of breeding material for infection by various pathogens.

Maintenance breeding

Healthy high performance seeds are essential

Healthy and efficient seed potatoes are the basis of quality potato production. Due to its vegetative nature, seed multiplication involves a high potential risk of disease transmission. With the development of bioengineering techniques, new developments in conservationary breeding have emerged. Single plants are no longer the basis of seed potato production. They have been replaced by plants from test tubes, so-called in-vitro-plants, which grow in our laboratory at BNA.

At BNA, tubers of disease-free and true-breeding parent material are used for the establishment of tissue cultures. The tops of the sprouts of these tubers are first disinfected and then cultivated in test tubes with specific nutrient media under sterile conditions. A few weeks later, small plants are developing in the test tubes.

For multiplication purpose the plants are cut into two or three pieces under sterile conditions – each part must show at least one leaf, as the leaf axil contains a resting bud, which develops into a new shoot. This technique has the advantage of high multiplication rate and all season availability.

Each year, the BNA laboratory delivers more than 450,000 in-vitro plants to our maintenance stations. Our maintenance stations are located in:

  • Freiburg an der Elbe (Lower Saxony/Germany)
  • Böhlendorf (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania/Germany)
  • Kruckow (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania/Germany)
  • Hohenbrünzow (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania/Germany)
  • Obliwice (Gmina Nowa Wieś Lęborska/Poland)

The first generations of seed potatoes are multiplied by our colleagues from BNA in the healthiest German regions. The multipliers are situated in:

  • Böhlendorf (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
  • Kruckow (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
  • Hohenbrünzow (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)

The propagation areas of our contract farmers are located in the best potato cultivation areas in Germany.

Through our European EUROPLANT subsidiaries, we also multiply seeds in the preferred European propagation areas, such as in Finland, the Netherlands and France.