Lead:  In September, 1845 late blight struck the potato crop of Ireland. The partial destruction of that year's harvest and its total ruin in 1846 caused death and years of desperate emigration.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The potato is an extraordinary food factory. Native to the South American Andes mountains, potatoes were brought back to Europe by Spanish explorers and by 1800 the plant was well-established as a major crop in Germany and the west of England. The economy of Ireland was especially dependent upon this plant. Rich in Vitamin C and thiamin, with a goodly percentage of protein, the potato was nourishing, abundant and deceptively easy to grow, but it had an enemy, the fungus phytophthora infestans, the late blight and it thrives in cool, moist climates such as Ireland.

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