Measuring variation in potato roots in both field and glasshouse: the search for useful yield predictors and a simple screen for root traits

Jane Wishart, Timothy George, Lawrie Brown, Gavin Ramsay, John Bradshaw, Philip White, Peter Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: Potatoes have an inadequate rooting system for efficient acquisition of water and minerals and use disproportionate amounts of irrigation and fertilizer. This research determines whether significant variation in rooting characteristics of potato exists, which characters correlate with final yieldand whether a simple screen for rooting traits could be developed.
Methods: Twenty-eight genotypes of Solanum tuberosum groups Tuberosum and Phureja were grown in the field; eight replicate blocks to final harvest, while entire root systems were excavated from four blocks. Root classes were categorised and measured. The same measurements were made on thesegenotypes in the glasshouse,two weeks post emergence.. . Results: In the field, total root length varied from 40 m to 112 m. Final yield was positively correlated with total root weight. Solanum tuberosum group Phureja genotypes had more numerous roots and proportionally more basal than stolon roots compared with Solanum.tuberosum L., group Tuberosum genotypes. There were significant correlations between glasshouse and field measurements.
Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that variability in rooting traits amongst commercially available potato genotypes exists and a robust glasshouse screen has been developed. By measuring potato roots as described in this study, it is now possible to assess rooting traits of large populations of potatoes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-249
Number of pages19
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume368
Issue number1-2
Early online date7 Nov 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • Solanum tuberosum L. group Tuberosum Solanum tuberosum group Phureja Root Sustainability Delta carbon Water

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