ADAPT - Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato


Due to climate change, plants, including the potato, are increasingly exposed to heat, drought and flooding. The project will investigate the potato's response to such stress factors. At the same time, new varieties adapted to the above-mentioned events are to be developed.

Project description

The potato is one of the world's most important food crops. The plant reacts to heat and drought as well as to flooding events with high yield losses. These situations are becoming more frequent due to the climate crisis and pose a serious threat to potato yield security. There is a lack of basic knowledge about potato responses to these stressors, especially when they occur in combination.

ADAPT explores molecular and phenotypic responses of potato to stress factors such as heat, drought, or crop flooding. The goal of the project is to better adapt the crop to challenging growing conditions in the future. Therefore, in the project, the potato's responses to different stress factors are being researched in detail in the laboratory and in the field using a variety of modern methods. Tolerant potato varieties are identified and characterized in field trials. The results will be incorporated into a comprehensive synopsis that will make it possible to define the reaction mechanisms, establish new breeding traits and develop molecular markers for stress tolerance.

Interim results

In collaboration with all project partners, a perception survey for European farmer:s was developed under the leadership of AGES. The survey was available online from December 2020 to April 2021. It was translated into ten languages (English, German, Dutch, French, Polish, Spanish, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian and Greek) and targeted farmers from the main potato producing countries in Europe. A total of 553 potato farmers from 22 countries took part in the survey. Most participants came from Austria (n=159), followed by the Netherlands (n=93) and Germany (n=79). It is noteworthy that almost 90% of the respondents indicated that climatic changes have affected their potato production in the last ten years. In addition, nearly 50% of respondents identified climatic changes as a threat to maintaining potato production on their farm. More than 80% of potato grower:s indicated that drought and heat have increasingly affected their potato production over the past 10 years. More than 50% of growers believe that climate-related pests and pathogens have had a negative impact. More than 40% indicated that heavy rainfall has had a negative impact. Similar responses emerged when asked about possible future adverse effects on potato production. In summary, the survey showed that the ADAPT project, with its research focus and expected results, meets the needs of potato growers.

Benefit of the project

The project contributes to food security. The establishment of field trials and the precise observation of different varieties under stress conditions leads to a gain in know-how with regard to the recording of abiotic factors in variety testing. Improved variety testing provides farmers with need-based information for their crop management. The findings of the researchers and breeders support the faster and more efficient development of stress-tolerant potato varieties. Adapted breeding programs, the development and application of new technologies and cultivation advice should enable high-yielding potato cultivation even in times of climate crisis. The results are valuable for breeders, advisors, stakeholders, farmers and consumers. We are leading a work package that aims at the concrete use of the findings in practice and the target group-oriented presentation and dissemination of the results.

Project details

Project acronym: ADAPT

Project Management: Markus Teige, University of Vienna, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology Project Partners: University of Bonn (DE), Utrecht University (NL), University of Erlangen (DE), James Hutton Institute (UK), Durham University (UK), Wageningen University Research (NL), Palacký University Olomouc (CZ), National Center of Biotechnology (ES), National Institute of Biology (NIB), HZPC Holland (NL), C. Meijer BV (NL), Solana Research GmbH (DE), Niederösterreichische Saatbaugenossenschaft GmbH (AT), Europatat (BE) Project Management AGES: DI Dr. Alexandra Ribarits, Institute for Seeds and Seedlings, Plant Protection Service and Bees Head of Work Package 6 "Pathways to impact": DI Dr. Alexandra Ribarits

Funding: The project ADAPT is funded by the EU research and innovation program Horizon 2020, Grant Agreement No. GA 2020 862-858.

Project duration: 07.2020 until 06.2024


Ribarits, A., von Gehren, P., Bomers, S., Prat, N., Tripolt, T., Söllinger, J., 2021. ADAPT – Accelerated development of multiple-stress tolerant potato. In: Vereinigung der Pflanzenzüchter und Saatgutkaufleute Österreichs (Ed.), 71. Jahrestagung 2020, BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, 35-36. ISBN-13: 978-3-900932-81-7

von Gehren, P.; Bomers, S.; Tripolt, T.; Söllinger, J.; Prat, N.; Redondo, B.; Vorss, R.; Teige, M.; Kamptner, A.; Ribarits, A., 2023.Farmers Feel the Climate Change: Variety Choice as an Adaptation Strategy of European Potato Farmers. In: Climate 2023, 11, 189.

Last updated: 28.09.2023

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