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University of Stellenbosch (2014)

Improved potato (Solanum tuberosum) seed production through aeroponics system

Tshisola, Steve Ndondji

Titre : Improved potato (Solanum tuberosum) seed production through aeroponics system

Auteur : Tshisola, Steve Ndondji

Université de soutenance : University of Stellenbosch

Grade : MScAgric 2014

The potato can be considered as one of the most important food crops in many African countries. The potential of this crop is reflected in the large increase in area of production where Africa showed the highest rate of growth within the developing world over the past twenty years. The multiplication rate of potatoes is very low compared to other crops. Therefore it is essential to investigate methods of increasing the number of minitubers produced from disease free in-vitro plantlets. There is a number of potato propagation procedures that are currently being used worldwide to multiply seed potatoes. As aeroponics is still a relatively new technique that has not been researched extensively for the production of minitubers, a study relating to the production practises including the nutritional requirements of potato minitubers produced in a aeroponic system were undertaken. Potato plantlets, cv BP1, were grown aeroponically at two different densities (20 and 30 plants/m2) and four harvest intervals (7, 10, 14 and 18 days). The interaction between harvesting intervals and plant densities did not influence plant growth, minituber quality or yield. Best results were realised when harvesting every 7 days with a higher total tuber number over the growing period. Harvest interval also influenced the phosphorus and copper concentration in minitubers. To study the effect of Calcium (Ca) application rate, potato plantlets of cultivars Up-to-date, Mnandi, Buffelspoort and BP1 were grown at four different Ca levels (8.40, 6.75, 5.10 and 3.45 meq/L). The interaction between Ca application levels and cultivars significantly influenced the percentage stolon branching. BP1 had more stolons at the lowest Ca application level and Buffelspoort had more stolons at the full Ca application levels. However, low Ca treatments produced the highest yield. The minituber number and weight harvested were three times more for Mnandi. An aeroponic study on the irrigation frequency (20, 30, 40 and 50 minutes interval) was conducted on four potato cultivars (Up-to-date, Mnandi, Buffelsoort and BP1). Significant differences were noted in the interaction between irrigation frequencies and cultivars for the percentage tuberised plants and stolon and tuber dry mass. When irrigated every 40 minutes, 48% of the Buffelspoort plants produced tubers. Plant height was also significantly affected by the interaction between irrigation frequencies and potato cultivars, with Mnandi producing taller plants when irrigated every 30 minutes. Total tuber number and tuber fresh and dry weight was higher at the irrigation frequency of 20 minutes. The interaction between irrigation frequencies and cultivars on the response to macro and trace elements was not significant for sodium and iron but was for phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc and aluminium. A field study was conducted in a greenhouse where potato seed of BP1 obtained from the first trial were graded into different sizes (Small : >20, medium : 20–40 and large : > 40 mm of diameter) and stored at 3 different temperatures (3, 16 and 25oC) for 2 supplementary months before being planted. Sprouting capacity was mostly influenced by temperature regardless of other factors applied to potato seed minitubers such as harvest intervals and sizes. The higher storage temperature of 25oC resulted in tubers with a higher number of sprouts, longer sprouts and with a higher sprouting capacity


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Page publiée le 21 décembre 2014, mise à jour le 31 mars 2020