Nutrient Solutions and Drought in Plant Growth and Fructans Content of Agave potatorum Zucc

in HortScience

The Agave potatorum Zucc. is a wild species endemic to Oaxaca and Puebla, Mexico. The stem or “head” of the plants of this species contains a large amount of fructans, which, in conjunction with their crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), helps the agave to survive droughts. The soluble carbohydrates are used to produce mezcal. The objective was to evaluate growth and content of fructans of A. potatorum young plants grown in soil and perlite substrate, fertigated with three nutrient solutions, and subjected to drought. Eight-month-old plants were used and, for 15 months, were fertigated with nutrient solutions: 1) Steiner, 2) Hoagland and Arnon, and 3) Urrestarazu. Irrigation was later suspended to simulate a 5-month drought and induce stress. During fertigation, the vegetative growth was greater in plants irrigated with Hoagland and Arnon and Urrestarazu solutions in perlite and in soil. After the period of water deficit stress, plants in perlite substrate fertigated with the Hoagland and Arnon solution accumulated more fructans in the heads, reaching a maximum of 75%, than plants in soil substrate (42%).

Contributor Notes

We thank the Instituto Politecnico Nacional for the projects SIP20160437 and SIP20160440. We also thank the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN-Unidad Irapuato for the facilities granted to carry out the determination of fructans.

This paper is a portion of a thesis submitted by the first author in fulfilling a degree requirement.

Corresponding author. E-mail: imoralesg@ipn.mx.

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    Fructans content in heads of A. potatorum plants grown in perlite, fertigated with three nutrient solutions, before and after a drought period. Means in each column and each factor with the same letter do not differ statistically (Tukey’s, 0.05).

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    Fructans content in heads of A. potatorum plants grown in soil, fertigated with three nutrient solutions, before and after a drought period. Means in each column and each factor with the same letter do not differ statistically (Tukey’s, 0.05).

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