Potato Tissue Culture Lab

Andy Witherall, Afnan (a graduate student of Amy Charkowksi's) and Brooke Babler when they visited Agdia.
Touring the greenhouses at the State farm
Tissue Culture Lab members
Micropropagated potato plantlets
Andy Witherell studying the genetics of Potato Virus Y (PVY)
Plantlet performance experiment
Cutting potato plantlets in a sterile laminar flow hood
Potato micro-tubers
Micropropagation training in Kenya


The Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Tissue Culture Laboratory produces seed stock for approximately 90% of the publicly available varieties of seed potato growers in Wisconsin. The potato tissue culture laboratory is part of the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and housed in the UW-Madison Biotron building.

Each year, thousands of tissue culture plantlets derived from potato tubers are sent to the Lelah Stark Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm. The plantlets are placed into potting mix or a hydroponic system to grow minitubers. The following year, these tubers are multiplied in the field and then sold to Wisconsin seed potato growers.

The purpose of the potato tissue culture laboratory is to:

  • Provide healthy planting stocks to the Lelah Starks Farm, potato farmers, and researchers.
  • Maintain and revive a comprehensive collection of commercial potato varieties in tissue culture.
  • Perform pathogen testing on grower samples to help them stay in compliance with state, national, and international seed potato certification standards.
  • Perform research focused on improving potato tissue culture growth to benefit the WSPCP.
  • Perform outreach activities such as lab tours, training, and presentations on current research.

A list of the potato varieties we have available is here.

If you are interested in a laboratory tour, contact Andy Witherell or Brooke Babler

UW-Madison Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program Laboratory Biotron Building, Rm 237 2115 Observatory Dr. Madison, WI 53706-1087 (608) 263-8765