THE EFFECTS OF WATER STRESS ON PLANT WATER STATUS AND GROWTH OF SELECTED SWEETPOTATO GENOTYPES

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762

Responses of four sweetpotato genotypes (`Centennial', `Travis', `Vardaman' and `MS 21-2') to water stress were studied. Two irrigation regimes (irrigation vs non-irrigation) were imposed on five-week old cuttings grown in a greenhouse environment. Transpiration and leaf diffusive resistance (LDR) were measured with a steady state porometer and mid-day total leaf water potentials were determined with a thermocouple psychrometer. Leaf growth was inhibited earlier than root growth. Water stress caused a reduction of leaf size in Centennial and in leaf number in the other three. Storage root number of Vardaman was not inhibited by limited soil moisture but development of storage roots was retarded by water stress. Total growth under non-irrigation of MS 21-2 was inhibited more than Vardaman. Mid-day leaf water potential did not show promise as a good indicator of water status. Genotypic differences in the water stress sensitivity as measured by LDR, were observed.

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