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by marinaivanova
Last updated 7 years ago


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Plant Biology-botanical name: solanum tuberosum (International Potato Center,n.d.)-enjoy sandy, acidic, loose soil and full sun exposure-grow well in a cool climate-thousands of different types-pollinated by insects-size: low growing, 1-2 feet in height and 1-2 feet in width (Plant Encyclopedia, n.d.)-weak stems, leafs split into 5-9 leaflets-fibrous roots, white or purple flowers-can be grown anywhere with a temperate climate-stages of development include sprout development, vegetative growth, tuber initiation, tuber bulking and maturation (Bioweb, n.d.)

Plant Products and Useful Properties-main purpose of potatoes is food for humans-mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, salads, chips-also used to feed livestock-used in production of alcohol-used to make starch which is utilized in glue, lumber, and pharmaceutical industries-high in carbohydrates, protein, calcium, antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre (International Potato Center, n.d.)

Roles in Human Society Potatoes originated over 7000 years ago in South America and were introduced into North America in 1700's. In the 1800's people were so dependant on potatoes for food, that during the potato famine in Ireland which took place in 1840, 1 million people died from starvation. (Elements magazine, n.d.) Today potatoes are the 3rd most important crop in the world and the leading producers are China, India and Russia. (International Potato Centre, n.d.) The largest producer of potatoes in Canada province-wise is PEI, the potato industry brings the island 1 billion dollars each year. (PEI potatoes, n.d.)Potatoes in general are a huge part of the world's agriculture and are currently helping relieve hunger around the world.

Environmental Sustainability-growing potatoes requires less water than growing wheat and barley-they also require less land than wheat and rice-potatoes require fertilizers and pesticides for successful growth-systems implemented that prevent fertilizer and pesticide run off from leaving fields during rainfall (PEI Potato, n.d.)-fertilizer and pesticide use can be reduced by using organic manure and by assessing pest and disease levels prior to applying chemicals-there is waste created in the process of potato production (disease, processing)-waste can be used for anaerobic digestors which turn it into renewable energy as well as for creation of biodegradable packaging-potatoes provide breeding sites for the endangered yellow wagtail and bumblebees, increasing biodiversity (Potato Council, n.d.)

ConclusionI think that potatoes have had a significant impact on society in both positive and negative ways. First of all, due to their high production rates and low production costs, they are one of the potential solutions for world hunger. Second of all, I believe that potatoes have contributed to cultural evolvement of different societies with each culture having their own traditional potato dish and belief about the plant. Lastly, potato production continues to impact our society because it uses a lot of land space, which increases deforestation and worsens the effects of global warming which is currently affecting all of us.


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