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D. Mortley, P. Loretan, C. Bonsi, and W. Hill

An experiment was conducted in environmental growth chambers to study the response of sweet potato to relative humidity (RH). Twenty-four vine cuttings of `TI-155' sweet potato were planted in growth channels in a modified half Hoagland's solution using the nutrient film technique. Plants were exposed to constant RH levels of 50% or 85%. Temperature regimes of 20/22 C were maintained during the light/dark periods with an irradiance level of 600 umol m-2 s1, and a 14 hr/10 hr photoperiod. Plants were harvested 120 days after planting and yield data was taken. High RH (85%) resulted in significant increases in number of storage roots/plant, storage root fresh and dry weight, single leaf photosynthesis and stomatal conductance than at 50% RH. Foliage dry weight and leaf temperature was higher at 50% than 85% RH.

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Paul G. Thompson, John C. Schneider, and Boyett Graves

One hundred one accessions from the U.S. germplasm collection were evaluated in field trials for sweetpotato weevil resistance. Weevils were collected from 4 separate Mississippi locations during the winter of 1992-93. They were increased in culture and 6 adult females and 6 males were applied to the crown of each plant percentage of uninjured storage roots ranged from 53 to 99. The most highly resistant control, Regal, had 79% and the most susceptible, Centennial, 60% uninjured roots. Uninjured root numbers ranged from 0.03 to 3.82 per plant. Regal had 2.1 and Centennial 1.88 uninjured roots per plant. Seventy-five accessions produced higher percentages of uninjured roots than Regal. However, 48 of those accessions produced less than one root per plant and previous results indicated that estimates with low storage root numbers lack precision. Fourteen accessions produced as many or more roots than Regal and also higher percentages and numbers of uninjured roots.

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Jeff L. Main, Paul G. Thompson, William Burdine Jr., and R. Crofton Sloan Jr.

Seventeen plant bed fertilizer treatments including different rates of N, P, and K were evaluated for the effect on plant production and sweetpotato yield. `Beauregard' storage roots were bedded. Treatments were 0, 40, 80 lb N/ac; 0, 80, 160 lb P/ac; or 0, 75, 150, and 300 lb K/ac. Each nutrient was evaluated in a separate trial. After the first cutting, half of the N treatments and all P and K treatments had 40 lb N/ac top-dressed on the beds. For the first cutting the high rate of N (80 lb/ac) had a higher green weight than the low rate of 0 lb/ac. There wer no other differences found in the first or second cuttings for plant production or yield. Plant bed fertilization also had no effect on transplant survival.

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C. Morris, D. Mortley, P. Loretan, C. Bonsi, and W. Hill

The potential of the sweet potato as a food source for future long-term manned space missions is being evaluated for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) Program. Several experiments have shown that the sweet potato can be grown hydroponically. However, an evaluation of the NASA fan-shaped Biomass Production Chamber (BPC) channel was initiated to determine if channel depths influenced the yield of hydroponically grownsweet potatoes. Three channel depths were studied, 5 cm (2 in) standard NASA BPC channel, 10 cm (4 in) channel and 15 cm (6 in) channel. The experiment consisted of one replication. The results show that channel depth does effect the yield of storage roots. The 15 cm depth channel provided the most consistent yield with all channels having significantly different fresh storage root yields in the replicate.

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Thammasak Thongket and James O. Garner Jr.

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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Tonda Bardwell, Huang Jin Xing, J. O. Garner, and J. L. Silva

Storage roots of `Jewel', `Centennial' and `Beauregard' were chilled at 5C for 0, 10, 20, 30 or 40 days. After chilling, the roots were placed at 21C for two days to allow hardcore development. Hardcore was measured as weight of root that remain hard after boiling for 45 minutes. Hardcore and fatty acid composition of total lipids were compared for the three cultivars. Hardcore was present at 10 days in both `Jewel ' and `Centennial' and at 20 days for `Beauregard'. Severity of hardcore increased with time of chilling. Linoleic acid content of 'Beauregard ' was higher for the 0, 10, and 20 day sampling periods, and decreased to a level equal to that found in 'Jewel ' and `Centennial'.

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Kenji Katayama, Katsumi Komaki, and Seiji Tamiya

Near infrared analysis was used to predict the starch, moisture, and sugar content in sliced fresh sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] storage roots. Samples were collected in each of three growing years. The best calibration equation for starch from combined samples (1989 to 1991) showed a multiple correlation coefficient (R) of 0.949, a standard error of calibration (sec) of 2.01, and a standard error of prediction (sep) of 1.91. The R, sec, and sep for moisture and sugar were 0.930, 1.85, and 2.00, and 0.837, 1.30, and 1.21, respectively. Calibrations based on samples from a given year adequately predicted the variables but could not account for variances introduced by samples from other years. Multiyear calibrations based on several years of data adequately predicted starch and moisture content in root slices. Thus, multiyear calibrations with annual bias adjustments can be applied to screening sweetpotato breeding germplasm for these two variables.

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Lewis W. Jett and Timothy P. Talbot

A cultural practice that can modify and conserve the soil environment is needed in sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] production. The objective of this research was to evaluate conventional and conservation tillage of sweetpotato with four cover crop species (fallow, ryegrass, rye, and wheat). The cover crops were seeded in late Oct. 1995, and the sweetpotato transplants (`Beauregard') were transplanted at two dates the following spring (May and June). Conservation tillage significantly lowered soil temperature (10 cm depth) during storage root initiation and development. Moreover, each cover crop significantly reduced weed emergence and soil erosion. The ryegrass conservation tillage treatment significantly increased marketable yield of sweetpotato in the first planting date, while rye and wheat performed equally well in the second planting date. In the second planting date, white grub (Phyllophaga ephilida Say) injury to storage roots was significantly higher in the conservation tillage treatments. However, conservation tillage seems to be a viable alternative to the conventional method of sweetpotato production.

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C. Stevens, V. A. Khan, J. L. Lu, C. L. Wilson, E. Chalutz, M. K. Kabwe, and Z. Haung

Jewel sweetpotato storage roots previously treated with ultraviolet (UV–C) light and then stored for 30 days before artificial inoculation with Fusarium solani showed increased resistance to Fusarium root rot; as indicated by reduced lesion size, the rate of decay development of rotted tissues. There was a hormetic relationship between the incidence of Fusarium root rot and UV–C doses. The optimum dose of UV which reduced Fusarium root rot was 3.6× 104 ergs/mm2. Exposure of sweetpotato to UV–C doses promoted phenylalanine ammonia–lyase (PAL)4 production with the maximum PAL activity occurring at 3.6×104 ergs/mm2. Crude extracts from UV–C treated sweetpotatoes reduced germination, germ tube elongation and growth of F. solani when compared to untreated extracts.

Open access

P. C. St. Amand and W. M. Randle


Cured storage roots of sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. cv. Centennial] were wounded and recured for 12 days with or without 2,5-norbornadiene, AOA, or CoCl2 treatments. Ethylene production, wound lignification, and wound periderm formation were measured 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 days after wounding. Ethylene production preceded wound lignification and wound periderm formation by 24 to 48 hr, respectively. Blocking ethylene action with 2,5-norbornadiene increased ethylene production, blocked wound periderm formation for up to 12 days, and strongly suppressed and delayed lignification. Blocking ethylene synthesis with AOA or CoCl2 decreased ethylene production to 10% of the control. Lignification and wound periderm formation were also suppressed and initiation delayed. These results suggest that ethylene is involved in lignification and periderm formation in wounded sweet potato roots. Chemical names used: bicyclo[2.2.l]hepta-2,5-diene (2,5-norbornadiene); (aminooxy) acetic acid (AOA).