Jerusalem artichokes are one of a small number of crops that store carbon predominately in the form of inulin, a straight chain fructosan. There has been a tremendous increase in interest in inulin due to its dietary health benefits for humans and calorie replacement potential in processed foods. We measured the allocation of dry matter within the crop (cv. Sunckoke) during an entire growth cycle by harvesting plants over a 40-week period (2-week intervals) from initial planting through field storage. Plant characters assessed were: no. of basal stems, leaves, branches, flowers, and tubers; the dry weight of leaves, branches, flowers, tubers, and fibrous roots; and date of flowering. Total dry weight of above-ground plant parts increased until 18 weeks after planting (22 Aug.) and then progressively decreased thereafter. Tuber dry weight began to increase rapidly ≈4 weeks (19 Sept.) after the peak in above-ground dry weight, suggesting that dry matter within the aerial portion of the plant was being recycled into the storage organs. Tuber dry weight continued to increase during the latter part of the growing season, even after the first frost. Final tuber yield was 13.6 MT of dry matter/ha.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.