True Potato Seeds for Potato Starch Production

Rabinowitch Haim, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences
Levy David, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences


Agriculture, Plants


Seeds, Potatoes, Starch

Current development stage

General list: TRL5 Technology validated in relevant environment   


Collaboration Opportunity

Sponsored Research with an option to License Research Results



Global potato production amounts to about 19.5 million hectares (5.7 million in China as of 2017) out of which 6.3 million hectare (~33%) are grown for starch production. In 2016, Europe’s potato starch production share comprised 73.5% of global production; China took about 10.7%; North America ~ 6.9%;and Japan’s potato starch production share was 6.4%.

The high quality potato starch is essential and particularly valued in the food, paper, adhesives, building, and textile industries. This is due to potato starch’s unique texture, neutral taste and high clarity compared to other starches. In the food industry, starches are used widely for their ability to provide texture and viscosity.

Potato quality is measured by the dry matter content, i.e. the total solids minus the water content, which influences the texture, yield, fat content and is correlated with specific gravity. The higher the dry matter content, the more valuable the potatoes.  

All over the world, potatoes are propagated from tubers. One hectare of potato field requires up to 2-2.5 tons propagules at a cost of USD ~760/hectare.

A number of public and private organizations have attempted to propagate potatoes from true seed for food with little success.

Our Innovation

Our researchers have developed True Potato Seeds (TPS) for the propagation of potatoes in the starch industry.

  • TPS are cheaper and easier to handle than potato tubers.
  • Seeds do not carry over pests and diseases from the original seed-production field to the commercial potato field, hence losses due to viral, bacterial and fungal infection are small, and use of pesticides and damage to the environment are minimal.
  • Production costs are reduced from USD ~760/hecater when using actual tubers to USD ~435/hectare when using TPS (plus nursery costs which are equivalent to those in other Solanum species).  
  • Therefore, the replacement of the current system of planting tubers by transplanting TPS seedlings is of a significant economic consequence.


1. We managed to induce profuse flowering and produce viable seeds.

2. We selected for hi-dry matter genotypes thus producing hi-starch varieties. Lines show between 4-6% higher dry matter content

3. We have already proven that selection for dry-matter rich lines is feasible and own high dry-matter breeding lines.


The researcher is looking for industry partners for sponsoring continued research to achieve the following goal:

  • Establish a reproducible and reliable system for mass TPS production and adopt nursery technologies (as in other Solanaceae).
  • Continue the selection of superior breeding lines.
  • Run small scale evaluation studies in open fields.
  • Run large scale evaluation studies.
  • Develop treatment and handling protocols of the TPS and seedlings in the nursery (as common in other Solanaceae).  This is an exact repetition of #1
  • Assess yields, dry matter and starch content under field conditions.



Contact for more information:

Ilya Pittel
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