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  • Author or Editor: Walter A. Hill x
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The influence of Azospirillum inoculation on sweetpotato Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] was evaluated in combination with fertilizer N rates of 0, 40, and 80 kg·ha-1. Plants were inoculated with 5 ml of the inoculant at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after transplanting. Inoculation increased total and marketable yield by 12% and 17%, respectively, in 1984 and 5% and 22%, respectively in 1985. Higher storage root yields were accompanied by lower foliage yields, which suggested the inoculant may enhance storage root growth at the expense of foliage growth on soils with low to moderate N levels (40 to 80 kg·ha-1). Storage root N (1984 and 1985) and leaf N (1985) were higher for 40 kg N/ha with inoculation than with inoculation alone (treatments 4 vs. 2), which suggested that Azospirillum plus fertilizer N increased the N content of the plants.

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The response of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas Lam.) to inoculation with Azospirillum with and without fertilizer N was evaluated in a greenhouse and field study. In the greenhouse study, storage root N concentration of ‘Centennial’ and ‘Jewel’ were higher with 34 mg N/pot + inoculant (Cd strain) than with 34 mg N/pot without inoculant. In the field study, the marketable and total root yields and root N contents of ‘Centennial’ for the 0 kg N/ha + Cd inoculant and 0 kg N/ha + TI-sp-(7 + 11) inoculant treatments were higher than for the 0 kg N/ha control and were not different from or higher than the 67 kg N/ha treatments with or without the inoculants.

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Growth chamber experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of irradiance and daily light period on storage root yield and leaf elemental concentration of two sweetpotato cultivars grown hydroponically by use of the nutrient film technique (NFT). Stem cuttings (15 cm) of cv. Whatley/Loretan and Georgia Jet were grown in NFT channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m) in reach-in growth chambers under light period/irradiance combinations of 18 h: 300 μmol·m−2·s−1 or 9 h: 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 photosynthetic photon flux. Temperature was 28/22 °C light/dark with a relative humidity of 70% ± 5%. Storage root and foliage yields were greater in both cultivars exposed to a longer daily light period and lower irradiance. The main effect of cultivar indicated that storage root yield was significantly greater among plants of ‘Whatley/Loretan’ compared with that of ‘Georgia Jet’, whereas foliage yield was similar between cultivars. Leaves of plants grown under longer daily light period and lower irradiance had significantly lower concentrations of all elements, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, boron, and zinc, except for calcium, manganese, and boron. There were no significant differences in leaf elemental concentration between cultivars. Thus, a longer daily light and lower irradiance enhanced biomass production of sweetpotato but reduced leaf elemental concentration probably because of a “dilution” effect.

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A greenhouse study was conducted to evaluate the influence of harvest intervals on biomass yield and omega fatty acids of ‘Golden purslane’ (Portulaca oleracea). Nutrients were supplied as a modified full-strength Hoagland solution two to three times weekly. Plants were harvested sequentially at 20, 40, and 60 days after transplanting (DAT) corresponding to 42, 63, and 84 days after sowing. Fatty acids were determined using a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Harvest intervals significantly influenced foliage fresh and dry weight, leaf number and plant height, and root length and fresh weight and were greatest at 60 DAT. Fatty acid analysis verified the presence of myristate, palmitate, linoleate, and linolenate at 20 DAT and in all three harvests, whereas stearate and oleate were detected only in the last two harvests (40 and 60 DAT). Linoleate, palminate, and linolenate were the most abundant fatty acids in purslane with levels in excess of 300 mg·kg−1. Those for myristate, stearate, and oleate were in excess of 200 mg·kg−1. The ratio of omega-6/omega-3 ranged from 0.44 for Harvest 1 to 1.1 for Harvest 3, whereas ratios for harvest intervals two and three were equal to or greater than the recommended daily human requirement. Results showed qualitative and quantitative differences of harvest intervals of purslane, suggesting that an optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids can be achieved ≈20 DAT.

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Two sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] genotypes (TU-82-155 and NCC-58) were grown hydroponically and subjected to a temporary loss of lighting in the form of 14 days of prolonged darkness compared with a lighted control under standard daily light periods to determine the impact on growth responses and storage root yield. Vine cuttings of both genotypes were grown in rectangular channels. At 65 days after planting, lights were turned off in the treatment chambers and replaced by a single incandescent lamp, providing between 7 and 10 µmol·m−2·s−1 photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) for 18 hours, and the temperature lowered from 28/22 °C light/dark, to a constant 20 °C. Plants remained under these conditions for 14 days after which the original light level was restored. Growth chamber conditions predark included, a PPF mean provided by 400-W metal halide lamps, of 600 ± 25 µmol·m−2·s−1, an 18-hour light/6-hour dark cycle and a relative humidity of 70% ± 5%. The nutrient solution used was a modified half-Hoagland with pH and electrical conductivity (EC) maintained between 5.5–6.0 and 1000–1200 μS·cm−1, respectively, and was adjusted weekly. Storage root number and fresh weight were similar regardless of treatments. Plants exposed to prolonged darkness produced 10.5% and 25% lower fibrous root fresh and dry mass, respectively, but similar foliage yield and harvest index (HI). ‘NCC-58’ produced an average of 31% greater storage root yield than that of ‘TU-82-155’ but the number of storage roots as well as % dry matter (%DM) were similar. ‘NCC-58’ also produced 31% greater fibrous root dry weight, whereas ‘TU-82-155’ produced a 44% greater HI. The significant interaction between prolonged darkness and cultivars for %DM of the storage roots showed that DM for ‘TU-82-155’ was 18.4% under prolonged darkness and 17.9% in the light. That for ‘NCC-58’ was 16.4% under prolonged darkness compared with 19.4% (14.8% greater) for plants that were not subjected to prolonged darkness. The evidence that there were no adverse impacts on storage root yield following the exposure to prolonged darkness suggests that the detrimental effects were below the detectable limits for these cultivars in response to the short perturbation in the available light and that sweetpotatoes would be hardy under short-term failure situations.

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