Development of multiple pest resistant sweetpotatoes for organic production and new uses

Janice Ryan-Bohac, D. Michael Jackson, Teresa A. Olczyk, Eric Simonne, Russell Nagata


The highly nutritious sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam.], is heat tolerant and productive throughout Florida. Both the sweet, orange-fleshed, and dry-fleshed, 'Boniato' types of varieties are grown. There are many insect pests and diseases that limit production of the crop and several sweetpotato genotypes with multiple resistances to these pests suitable for organic production developed by scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). A laboratory bioassay was developed with the important insect pest Diabrotica balteata (Le Conte), which was shown to correlate with field insect resistance. Some of the biochemical compounds that confer resistance have also been identified. Based on field trials in South Carolina and Florida, researchers from ARS and University of Florida have released 'Liberty', the first multiple pest-resistant sweetpotato cultivar released for new uses. 'Liberty' has excellent quality as a dry-fleshed Boniato type and has roots with superior storage and processing potential for chips and ethanol. In 2005 and 2006, field trials in Homestead, Florida were conducted to evaluate sweetpotato germplasm for resistance to the sweetpotato weevil (Cylas formicarius (Fab). Preliminary data from these trials showed some sweetpotato genotypes were highly resistant.


Ipomoea batatas; Cylas formicarius; boniato; host plant resistance; genetic improvement

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283