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Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1054; doi:10.3390/su8101054

Effect of Organic Potato Farming on Human and Environmental Health and Benefits from New Plant Breeding Techniques. Is It Only a Matter of Public Acceptance?

Council for Agricultural Research and Economics Analysis (CREA), Centre for Research on Industrial Crops, Via di Corticella, 133, 40128 Bologna, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gerhart U. Ryffel
Received: 26 July 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 13 October 2016 / Published: 20 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and Gene Manipulation)
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Abstract

Organic farming practices are commonly thought to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and to preserve the naturalness of the products. Herein, we report the effect of crop management practices on nutritional and toxicological value of potato tubers. Comparative studies are often controversial and the results are dependent on genotype and methodological approach. Targeted analysis and “omics” strategies are discussed, pointing at the nutritional aspects and the corresponding biological and molecular processes involved. Organic farming supporters still do not accept the use of genetic modification to produce new varieties suited for organic agriculture and crop improvement by genetic engineering still sparks hot debate among various scientific and social factions whose major concern is the possible existence of unintended effects both on human and world health. In this context, the advent of “new plant breeding techniques” has reignited the discussion on genetic engineering and on the compatibility of the new technologies with an eco-friendly agriculture. Could cisgenic and genome-edited potatoes be new good options for organic agriculture? We discuss how these approaches can be used to address food security challenges and to overcome specific problems based on the biological characteristics of potato tubers, producing new varieties that can improve farmers’ profit with a lower impact on public opinion. However, political, ethical, and social fears will probably persist much longer, mainly in Italy, historically a fiercely anti-GM country with a European leadership in organic food production and export. View Full-Text
Keywords: genetic modification; conventional farming system; sustainable production; potato breeding; food security genetic modification; conventional farming system; sustainable production; potato breeding; food security
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Pacifico, D.; Paris, R. Effect of Organic Potato Farming on Human and Environmental Health and Benefits from New Plant Breeding Techniques. Is It Only a Matter of Public Acceptance? Sustainability 2016, 8, 1054.

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