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Manipulating the physiological quality of in vitro plantlets and transplants of potato

  • Mehari, T.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2000
Wageningen University and Researchcenter Publications
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In vitro techniques have been introduced in potato seed production systems in recent years. This research project aimed at studying the morphological and physiological changes in plants and crops in the last three phases of a seed production system that included an in vitro multiplication, an in vitro normalisation (growing cuttings to rooted plantlets), a transplant production, and a tuber production (field) phase.Leaf area was identified as an important plant parameter for plant growth in the normalisation and transplant production phases. Explants and plantlets with larger initial leaf area performed better than those with smaller initial leaf area. In vitro treatments mainly affected leaf area of transplants through their effects on early above-ground leaf area. Leaf area increase was better described by logistic than by exponential or expolinear curves in all phases of growth, suggesting restriction of leaf area increase in all phases.Low temperature decreased leaf and stem dry weights in all phases, and increased tuber fresh and dry yields, average tuber weight, leaf/stem ratio, specific leaf area and harvest index in the tuber production phase. Growing in vitro plants at low normalisation temperatures increased leaf and total plant dry weights early in the transplant production and tuber production phases. It resulted in higher tuber yields, heavier individual tubers and higher harvest index.Fertilising plants with higher nitrogen (40 versus 10 mg N per plant) during transplant production resulted in plants with higher groundcover in the field. This led to higher interception of solar radiation and higher tuber yield in one of the two experiments. Growing plants at higher temperature (26/20 versus 12/18 °C) during transplant production increased leaf area at the end of the transplant production phase. After transplanting to the field, it resulted in crops with higher groundcover, which intercepted more incoming solar radiation. Yield tended to be higher, but differences could not be assessed as statistically significant. A glasshouse experiment showed that high temperature during transplant production increased leaf and stem dry weights in the tuber production phase, but reduced tuber dry weights and harvest index when temperatures during tuber production were high. Thus, high temperature during transplant production may favour haulm growth and light interception in the field, but may also reduce dry matter partitioning to tubers.Conditions in the tuber production phase were found to be of greater importance for final yield than conditions and treatments in earlier phases.Strategies to optimise the production and use of propagules and transplants should focus on achieving leafy starting material, reducing stress during changes in environment and optimising conditions during tuber production. Production of transplants should be adjusted to the expected growth conditions in the tuber production phase.Key words:Solanum tuberosum L., in vitro plantlet, seed production, normalisation, transplant production, tuber production, acclimatisation, leaf area, groundcover, logistic growth, temperature, nitrogen, dry matter production, specific leaf area, harvest index, radiation interception, radiation use efficiency.

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