The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved two types of potatoes that have been genetically engineered to resist the bacteria that caused the Irish potato famine.
Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co.'s Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of their second generation of Innate potatoes have been approved for commercial planting, reports Newser.
According to the company, the new potatoes will have reduced bruising and black spots, enhanced cold storage capacity, and a reduced amount of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures.
AP reports that the potatoes contain only potato genes, and that the resistance to late blight comes from an Argentinian variety of potato that is naturally resistant to the blight.
"We obviously are very proud of these," said Doug Cole, a company spokesman.
The company says the potatoes should enter the market next spring following a voluntary review by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The two varieties will join the Russet Burbank potato, which has already been approved for planting and is expected to receive EPA approval in January.
“The introduction of late blight resistance in Innate varieties is a game changer, one that has the potential to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of potato growing by reducing pesticide use,” says Neil Gudmestad, professor and Endowed Chair of Potato Pathology at North Dakota State University, according to The Packer.
According to Simplot, the late blight protection can result in a 50 percent reduction in fungicide applications annually.