“PAPA ELBE”: A RESISTANT TUBER CATALOGED AS THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY


Differentiating the variety is difficult when it is put together on a shelf, but there are characteristics that illustrate its quality.

In the mountains of Cartago and Zarcero is where the improved variety of potato “Elbe” is cultivated, a tuber that has improved characteristics of resistance, yield and quality, which make it be considered the best potato variety that has been generated in the country over varieties such as Floresta (white potato), Granola (yellow potato) or Única (red skin).
According to sales data provided by Agroservicios del Surco S.A., in 2017, 250 quintals of Elbe potatoes were sold in the national market.
Agroservicios del Surco S.A. is the company that owns the license of the seed granted by Proinnova-UCR in 2015, working as a link between the variety “Elbe” developed in the University of Costa Rica and the producers.
In this way, the University looks to benefit as many people as possible by transferring the findings to the socio-productive sector, but without separating from them, since with the licensing the products made in the “Alma Mater” are also protected.
The UCR potato variety “Elbe” is currently marketed in the different vegetable markets of Costa Rica, both formal and informal, as well as in supermarkets in the GAM of chains such as Walmart and Automercado. As an industrialized product, it can also be found in companies such as Demasa, Pro, Del Volcán and Riquis.
This potato is a variety developed by the researcher Arturo Brenes, from the Plant Biotechnologies Laboratory (LBP) of the Agronomic Research Center, who took 10 years to consolidate this improved material.
What makes it special?
According to Brenes, this renewed tuber ensures the agriculturist not only immunity to usual pests in crops such as “late blight” and “leaf miner”, but also generates a significant reduction in expenses on pesticides and fungicides, precisely because of its improved resistance, a feature that increases the competitiveness of the product in the market.
The elaborated field evaluations confirmed the absence of damage in the related tubers, with fungi or soil bacteria.
Brenes also explained that “Elbe” variety has a high content of dry matter and low levels of reducing sugars, something essential for the industry, since it facilitates the use of potatoes for toasted flakes or canes for French fries.
At the cooking level, the potato has an excellent behavior also, for example, for the preparation of dishes, such as picadillo, mashed potatoes and soup.
“Elbe” has a new level in crop yield, so it can generate up to 50 tons per hectare planted in a 120-day life cycle.
A brief description
“Elbe variety doesn’t compete with other varieties that exist, since its characteristics are different and unique, it does not offer a point of comparison. This variety is a material that came to fill a vacuum that has existed for many years with respect to potato varieties in the country, with which a profitability and real sustainability of the potato producing sector can be achieved, as well as the possibility of producing with a lower environmental impact and bring to the final consumer a product with a higher degree of safety,” said Sanabria.
Jafeth Mora Rojas



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