Researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have developed two new potato varieties they say are ideal for making potato chips.
The new types of potatoes, aptly named after two of the regional Ithaca Finger Lakes, Lamoka and Wineta, are designed to store well and maintain their coloring after being sliced. The Lamoka variety is also higher in starch levels than many other varieties, which makes it retain less oil after frying, making for a healthier potato chip.
Potatoes grown in New York soil are particularly at risk for contamination from pathogens known as golden nematode and common scab; but both Lamoka and Wineta are resistant to the pathogens making them a better choice than Snowden, the potato chip industry standard, which isn't.
First developed in 1998, the two varieties have spent the last 13 years being tested and propagated. Several farm trials across the country have been positive according to Walter De Jong, an associate professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University. Approximately 40 acres of Lamoka and Wineta potato seeds were produced in 2010 allowing for 400 acres of the new potatoes to be planted in 2011. Demands are already exceeding supply, according to De Jong.
Potato breeding is not new to Cornell University. The Lamoka and Wineta varieties are the seventh and eighth kind of potatoes to come out of the potato breeding program at Cornell in the last decade.
On average, Americans consume about six pounds of potato chips every year.
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