Tuber Initiation in Hydroponically Grown Potatoes by Alteration of Solution pH

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, WI 53706

Because tuberization in potatoes (Solarium tuberosum L.) reportedly is inhibited when stolons are immersed in liquid, this study was conducted to determine the effect of intermittent pH reductions of the nutrient solution on tuber induction of potatoes in solution culture. Tissue-culture potato plantlets were transplanted into solutions maintained at pH 5.5. The pH of the nutrient solution was changed to 3.5 and 4.0 for 10 hours on each of three dates (30, 35, and 40 days after transplanting). For the pH 3.5 treatment, tubers were observed first on day 42 and averaged 140 tubers per plant at harvest on day 54. For the pH 4.0 treatment, tubers were observed first on day 48 and averaged 40 tubers per plant at harvest. At a constant pH 5.5, tubers were observed on day 52 and averaged two tubers per plant at harvest. Plants with the intermittent pH 3.5 had smaller shoots and roots with shorter and thicker stolons compared to constant pH 5.5. With the intermittent pH 4.0, plants were of similar size, but stolons were shorter and slightly thickener compared to those from pH 5.5. Mineral composition of leaf tissues at harvest was similar for the three pH treatments. These results indicate that regulation of solution pH can be a useful technique for inducing tuberization in potatoes.

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