Effects of Leaf Potassium Content on Growth Dynamics of Muskmelon and Developing a Coupling Model of Nitrogen and Potassium

in HortScience

Nitrogen and potassium are two crucial nutrient elements that affect the yield and quality of crops. The aim of this study was to quantify the impacts of potassium on growth dynamics and quality of muskmelon, so as to optimize potassium management for muskmelon in a plastic greenhouse, and develop a coupling model of nitrogen and potassium. For this purpose, four experiments (two experiments with different levels of potassium treatment and planting dates, and the other two experiments with different ratios of nitrogen and potassium, and planting dates) on muskmelon (Cucumis melo L. ‘Nanhaimi’ and ‘Xizhoumi 25’) were conducted in a plastic greenhouse located at Sanya from Jan. 2014 to Sept. 2015. The quantitative relationship between leaf potassium content and growth dynamics and yield of muskmelon was determined and incorporated into a photosynthesis-driven crop growth model (SUCROS). Independent experimental data were used to validate the model. The critical leaf potassium content at the flowering stage for muskmelon ‘Nanhaimi’ and ‘Xizhoumi 25’ were 55.0 and 46.0 mg·g−1. The result showed that the coefficient of determination (r2) between the predicted and measured values of leaf area index (LAI), direct weight of shoot (DWSH), direct weight of stem (DWST), dry weight of leaf (DWL), dry weight of fruit (DWF), fresh weight of fruit (FWF), soluble sugar content (SU), soluble protein content (PR), vitamin C (Vc), and soluble solids content (SO) of potassium model were 0.93, 0.98, 0.83, 0.96, 0.98, 0.99, 0.94, 0.94, 0.89, 0.85, and 0.90, respectively; and the relative root-mean-squared error (rRMSE) were 10.8%, 19.6%, 30.3%, 21.1%, 11.9%, 17.2%, 13.9%, 27.8%, 20.6%, and 10.1%, respectively. The two ways of nitrogen and potassium coupling (multiplicative coupling and minimum coupling) were compared, and the multiplicative coupling was used in model development finally. The r2 between the predicted and measured values of LAI, DWSH, DWST, DWL, DWF, FWF, SU, PR, Vc, and SO of nitrogen and potassium coupling model were 0.78, 0.91, 0.93, 0.94, 0.83, 0.89, 0.92, 0.95, 0.91, and 0.93, respectively; and their rRMSE were 9.2%, 12.4%, 11.8%, 43.2%, 6.6%, 7.2%, 6.85%, 4.98%, 6.61%, and 4.35%, respectively. The models could be used for the optimization of potassium, nitrogen, and potassium coupling management for muskmelon production in a plastic greenhouse.

Contributor Notes

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31260492), National Science and Technology Supporting Project of China (2014BAD05B04).

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Corresponding author. E-mail: lisp555@126.com.

Article Sections

Article Figures

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    Daily maximum temperature, minimum temperature, and daily total photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) of potassium experiment.

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    Conceptual framework of the model developed in our study. DWF = dry weight of fruit; DWL = dry weight of leaf; DWSH = direct weight of shoot; DWST = direct weight of stem; PAR = photosynthetically active radiation; PIF = partitioning index of fruit; PIL = partitioning index of leaf; PISH = partitioning index of shoot; PIST = partitioning index of stem; PR = soluble protein content; SO = soluble solids content; SU = soluble sugar content; Vc = vitamin C.

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    Relationship between the leaf potassium content at flowering stage (Kl) and the available potassium during the experimental season (Ks) of Expt. 1.

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    Relationship between photosynthetically active radiationsaturated leaf gross photosynthetic rate (Pg,max) and the leaf potassium content at flowering stage (K1).

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    Relationship between leaf area index (LAI), partitioning index of shoot (PISH), partitioning index of leaf (PIL), partitioning index of stem (PIST), partitioning index of fruit (PIF), and the accumulated photothermal index since planting date (PTIsum) under different potassium supply conditions.

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    Relationship between the maximum value of leaf area index (LAImax), the increasing rate of LAI (rLAI), the partitioning index of shoot on the harvest date (PISHh), the increasing rate of partitioning index of shoot (rPISH), the partitioning index of leaf on the harvest date (PILh), the increasing rate of partitioning index of leaf (rPIL), the partitioning index of fruit on the harvest date (PIFh), the increasing rate of partitioning index of fruit (rPIF), accumulated PTI from planting date to flowering (PTIb), and the leaf potassium content at flowering stage (K1).

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    Relationship between soluble sugar content (SU), soluble protein content (PR), vitamin C content (Vc) and soluble solids content (SO) and the accumulated photothermal index since planting date (PTIsum) under different potassium supply conditions.

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    Relationship between the increasing rate of soluble sugar (rSU), the increasing rate of soluble protein (rPR), the increasing rate of vitamin C (rVc), the increasing rate of soluble solids (rSO), and the leaf potassium content at flowering stage (K1).

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    The 1:1 line of calculated and measured values of maximum leaf gross photosynthetic rate (Pg,max), maximum value of leaf area index (LAImax), the increasing rate of LAI (rLAI) of two coupling ways.

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    The 1:1 line of calculated and measured value of the partitioning index of shoot on the harvest date (PISHh), the increasing rate of partitioning index of shoot (rPISH), the partitioning index of leaf on the harvest date (PILh), the increasing rate of partitioning index of leaf (rPIL), the partitioning index of fruit on the harvest date (PIFh), the increasing rate of partitioning index of fruit (rPIF), accumulated PTI from planting date to flowering (PTIb) of two coupling ways.

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    The 1:1 line of calculated and measured value of the increasing rate of soluble sugar (rSU), the increasing rate of soluble protein (rPR), the increasing rate of vitamin C (rVc), and the increasing rate of soluble solids (rSO) of two coupling ways.

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    Comparison between the predicted and measured leaf area index (LAI), dry weight of shoot (DWSH), dry weight of leaf (DWL), dry weight of stem (DWST), dry weight of fruit (DWF), fresh weight of fruit (FWF), soluble sugar content (SU), soluble protein content (PR), vitamin C (Vc), and soluble solids content (SO) in potassium fertilization experiment.

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    Comparison between the predicted and measured leaf area index (LAI), dry weight of shoot (DWSH), dry weight of leaf (DWL), dry weight of stem (DWST), dry weight of fruit (DWF), fresh weight of fruit (FWF), soluble sugar content (SU), soluble protein content (PR), vitamin C (Vc), and soluble solids content (SO) in nitrogen and potassium coupling experiment.

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