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M.A. Sherif, P.A. Loretan, A.A. Trotman, J.Y. Lu, and L.C. Garner

Nutrient technique (NFT) and deep water culture (DWC) hydroponic systems were used to grow sweetpotao to study the effect of four nutrient solution treatments on: translocation of nutrients and plant and microbial population growth in split-root channels. 'TU-155'cuttings (15 cm) were prerooted for 30 days in sand in 4 cm CPVC pipes 46 cm in length. A modified half Hoagland (MHH) solution was supplied ad libidum. After 30 days, plants were removed and the roots of each plant were cleaned and split evenly between two channels (15 cm deep by 15 cm wide by 1.2 m long). four plants per channel. Nutrient solution treatments (replicated) were: MHH-MHH: MHH-Air, MHH-deionized water (DIW); and monovalent (Mono) - divalent (Dival) anions and cations. Solution samples were continuously collected at 7-day intervals for microbial population profiling. Plants were harvested after growing for 120 days in a greenhouse. Storage roots, when produced, were similar in nutritive components. However, no storage roots were produced in Air or Mono channels and only a few in DIW. Fresh and dry weights for storage roots and foliage were highest in MHH-MHH in both NFT and DWC in repeated experiments. Population counts indicated that nutrient solution composition influenced the size of the microbial population in NFT. Population counts were highest in Dival channels. The microbial population counts (4.20-7.49 cfu/mL) were. relatively high in both NFT and DWC systems.

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Melvin R. Hall

Immersion of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.)] storage roots in low concentration (5 and 50 mg·liter-1) of gibberellic acid (GA) in solutions of benzyl adenine plus GA4+7 increased early but not total plant production from bedded roots of `Georgia Jet' and `Jewel'. Immersion in 0.5 and 1 mg·liter-1 solutions of GA3 increased early plant production from `Georgia Jet'. Neither weight nor visual appearance of the harvested plants nor root yield from transplants were influenced by gibberellin treatments of the bedded roots.

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L. A. Chang and S. J. Kays

Abstract

Respiration of sweet potato roots was significantly depressed by low oxygen concentrations from 5 to 15% compared to 20% O2, but respiration at 2.5% O2 was high. Total sugar accumulated with low oxygen (2.5 and 5.0%) storage. Protopectin was low in roots stored at low O2 concentrations but water soluble pectin was not significantly affected. Physical parameters Ew and δf the storage roots were high when stored at low O2 concentrations. Ey and Ef were not significantly affected. Ew was correlated with total sugar (r = 0.79).

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P. J. Ndolo and E. G. Rhoden

Root growth of sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam.] cvs `TI-82-155', `Centennial' and `Rojo Blanco' in coarse fritted clay soil, was investigated under greenhouse conditions. The sweet potato cultivars were harvested at 41 and 82 days after planting. Dry weight of fibrous roots of all cultivars were similar at day 41. Fibrous root weight of `Rojo Blanco' increased by 5% while those of the other cultivars increased by 168%. Mean fibrous root length per centimeter depth was not significantly different among cultivars. Although fresh weight of storage roots of `Rojo Blanco' was significantly lower than those of the other cultivars, their dry weights were similar. `TI-82-155' and `Rojo Blanco' had fewer storage roots compared to the other cultivars, however, storage root length of `TI-82-155' or `Rojo Blanco' was greater than that of `Georgia Jet' or `Centennial'. Length to diameter ratio of the storage root of `Rojo Blanco' was significantly greater than that of `TI-82-155' and `Georgia Jet'.

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Yan Wang and Stanley J. Kays

The sweetpotato weevil is the single most critical insect pest of the sweetpotato worldwide. While male weevils can be lured to traps using a synthetic female pheromone, crop losses are not adequately reduced since damage is caused by the larvae arrising from eggs laid by female weevils in the storage roots. Identification of a female attractant could greatly enhance the control of the insect. The leaves and storage roots are known to emit volatiles that attract the female and in the following tests, we demonstrate that feeding by female weevils stimulates the synthesis of a volatile attractant which attracts additional females to the root. Undamaged, artificially damaged, and female weevil feeding damaged periderm were tested in dual-choice and no-choice olfactometers. Volatiles from feeding damaged roots were significantly more attractive than undamaged and artificially damaged roots. To test whether the volatile attractant was of weevil or root origin, volatiles were collected in MeCl2 after removal of the weevils and fractionated on a megabore DB-1 capillary column using a GC fitted with a TC detector. Fractions were collected from the exit port and their activity index (AI) determined using dual choice and no choice olfactometry. The active fraction was ascertained and active components identified via GC-MS.

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D.R. La Bonte, A.Q. Villordon, J.R. Schultheis, and D.W. Monks

The influence of a black polyethylene tunnel cover (BTC) was evaluated for its effect on quantity and quality of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] transplants in plant beds in Louisiana and North Carolina. Use of BTC increased production of `Beauregard' transplants from 63% to 553% in comparison with the bare ground control. `Jewel' was less responsive; BTC treatments increased transplant production by at least 48% in Louisiana over the bare ground control, but no increase was observed in North Carolina. Individual transplant weight was at least 34% less in BTC treatments than in the control. The first harvest of cuttings in BTC beds was at least 14 days prior to that in control beds. Transplant quality was assessed as yield of storage roots in repeated trials that extended throughout the normal growing season. Yield of storage roots was not affected by BTC in early season plantings, but was frequently lower for BTC treatment transplants in middle and late season plantings. We therefore do not recommend this method as a means of increasing sweetpotato plant production from bedded roots.

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P. J. Ndolo and E. G. Rhoden

Root growth of sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam.] cvs `TI-82-155', `Centennial' and `Rojo Blanco' in coarse fritted clay soil, was investigated under greenhouse conditions. The sweet potato cultivars were harvested at 41 and 82 days after planting. Dry weight of fibrous roots of all cultivars were similar at day 41. Fibrous root weight of `Rojo Blanco' increased by 5% while those of the other cultivars increased by 168%. Mean fibrous root length per centimeter depth was not significantly different among cultivars. Although fresh weight of storage roots of `Rojo Blanco' was significantly lower than those of the other cultivars, their dry weights were similar. `TI-82-155' and `Rojo Blanco' had fewer storage roots compared to the other cultivars, however, storage root length of `TI-82-155' or `Rojo Blanco' was greater than that of `Georgia Jet' or `Centennial'. Length to diameter ratio of the storage root of `Rojo Blanco' was significantly greater than that of `TI-82-155' and `Georgia Jet'.

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A. Golmirzaie, D.P. Zhang, L. Nopo, C.A. Newell, A. Vera, and F. Cisneros

Euscepes postfasciatus is one of the most important sweetpotato pests in the South Pacific, Caribbean basin, and some countries of Central and South America. Development of host resistance will greatly improve the effects of integrated pest management (IPM) for this pest. Ten transgenic clones of `Jewel' sweetpotato with cowpea trypsin inhibitors and snowdrop lectin, developed by Axis Agri. Genetics, Ltd., were assayed for weevil resistance using a no-choice bioassay. A replicated experiment was conducted in the screenhouse. Five storage roots from each clone were infested with five pairs of adults. Non-transformed `Jewel' was used as a check. Resistance was assessed 60 days after infestation by estimating the percentage of internal damage and the weevil population in the storage roots. A five-grade damage index was recorded. The experiment was repeated twice. Significant enhancement of resistance was found in the transgenic clones. Clone CTI-13 with cowpea trypsin inhibitor and clone PCG-7 with both cowpea trypsin inhibitor and snowdrop lectin demonstrated moderate resistance to E. postfasciatus, whereas the non-transformed `Jewel' was susceptible. This result shows that resistance to Euscepes postfasciatus can be achieved through genetic transformation.

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W.A. Mulkey, W.B. McLemore III, and T.P. Talbot

In preplant nitrogen studies with the `Beauregard' Variety maximum yields of U.S. No. 1 grade roots are produced using 50.4 kg/ha N. In 1992 studies were initiated to determine the effect of preplant N rates on storage root set and yield. Preplant N rates ranged from 0 to 84 kg/ha in 16.8 kg/ha increments. Two plots each of 0, 16.8 and 33.6 kg/ha were included so sidedress applications could be made to bring one of the treatments to the 50.4 kg/ha N level 30 days after transplanting. The 0 kg/ha N treatment had significantly more storage roots per plant than all other treatments 21 days after transplanting and more vine growth measured by weight. The 0 and 16.8 kg/ha treatments had significantly more storage roots 26 days after transplanting. At 26 and 35 days after transplanting vine growth was greater in 16.8 kg/ha N treatment. The 0 plus 50.4 kg/ha N sidedress treatment produced the highest yield of U.S. No. 1 grade roots with the highest number of marketable roots per plant (5.0). Similar results were obtained in the 1993 studies.

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A.D. Bryan, Z. Pesic-VanEsbroeck, J.R. Schultheis, K.V. Pecota, W.H. Swallow, and G.C. Yencho

Decline in sweetpotato yield and storage root quality has been attributed to the accumulation of viruses, pathogens and mutations. To document the effects of decline on yield and storage root quality, two micropropagated, virus-indexed, greenhouse produced G1 `Beauregard' meristem-tip cultured clones, B94-14 and B94-34, were compared with 1) micropropagated B94-14 and B94-34 clones propagated adventitiously up to five years in the field (G2, G3, G4, G5); and 2) nonmicropropagated, unimproved stock of `Beauregard' seed in field trials during 1997 to 2001. At least three trials were located each year in sweetpotato producing regions in North Carolina. In 2000 and 2001, two trials were monitored weekly for foliar symptoms of Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV) and other potyviruses, and virus-indexed for selected viruses using Ipomoea setosa and nitrocellulose enzyme linked immunosorbant assays (NCM-ELISA). Only SPFMV was detected in field samples using NCM-ELISA, but this does not rule out the presence of newly described viruses infecting sweetpotato for which tests were unavailable. Monitoring indicated that all G1 plants became infected with SPFMV by the end of the growing season, and that G2 to G5 plants were probably infected in their initial growing season. G1 plants consistently produced higher total yield, total marketable yield (TMY), U.S. No. 1 root yield and percent No. 1 yield than G2 to G5 plants. G1 plants also produced storage roots with more uniform shapes and better overall appearance than storage roots produced from G2 to G5 plants. Also, G2 to G5 storage roots tended to be longer than G1 storage roots. Rank mean yield and storage root quality measurements of each location were consistent with means averaged over locations per year and suggested a decrease in yield and storage root quality with successive seasons of adventitious propagation. Linear regression analysis used to model yield and storage root quality measurements of seed generations G1 to G5 indicated that total yield, TMY, No. 1 yield, percent No. 1 yield, shape uniformity, and overall appearance decreased gradually, and that length/diameter ratios increased gradually with generation. The rate of decline in No. 1 yield was greater for B94-34 compared to B94-14. Both viruses and mutations of adventitious sprouts arising from storage roots probably contribute to cultivar decline in sweetpotato, but further studies are needed to determine their relative importance. A simple profitability analysis for G1 vs. G2-G4 planting material conducted to facilitate better understanding of the economics of using micropropagated planting material to produce a crop in North Carolina revealed that growers have a potential net return of $2203/ha for G1 plants, $5030/ha for G2 plants, and $4394/ha for G5 plants. Thus, while G1 plants generally produce higher No. 1 yields, a greater monetary return can be achieved using G2 planting materials because of the high costs associated with producing G1 plants. Based on this analysis, the best returns are accrued when growers plant their crop using G2 and/or G3 seed.