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A.A. Trotman, W.A. Hill, D.G. Mortley, P.P. David, and P.A. Loretan

The effect of inoculation with Azospirillum brasilense strain Cd on mineral concentration in sweetpotato, [Ipomeo batatas (L) Lam cv. TI-155] tissue and ionic composition of plant nutrient solution was investigated in a greenhouse study. In the field, inoculation of sweetpotato with Azospirillum spp. has been reported to enhance. sweetpotato yield. In this study, 48-h old broth cultures were used as inoculum at a population density of approx. 1 × 108 cfu/ml. The inoculum (0.20 L) was added to the reservoirs containing 30.4 L of a modified half Hoagland's plant nutrient solution at 28 days after the start of the experiment Results indicate that percent total nitrogen in sweetpotato foliage tended to be higher for the inoculated fibrous mat than in the fibrous mat for non-inoculated plants. The percent total nitrogen in storage roots for the non-inoculated treatment tended to be higher than in storage roots for inoculated plants. Inoculation resulted in a slight increase in foliar phosphorus concentration but had no effect on phosphorus concentration in sweetpotato storage and fibrous root samples. Inoculation tended to reduce foliar calcium concentration. Magnesium concentration in leaf tissue was not influenced by inoculation. Foliar potassium concentration tended to increase slightly. The effect of inoculation on potassium concentration in sweetpotato root tissue was not well-defined; potassium concentration tended to be higher in fibrous root tissue for the inoculated treatment. But in storage root tissue, potassium concentration was higher for the non-inoculated treatment than for the inoculated treatment. Inoculation did not affect foliar concentrations of any of the micronutrients measured. This study indicates no effect of inoculation on ionic strength of nutrients in solution reservoirs.

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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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Pauline P. David, Audrey A. Trotman, and Desmond G. Mortley

One of the major objective of growth analysis data is to provide a basic understanding of some of the mechanisms that affect plant growth. This study was initiated to evaluate the effects on several growth parameters when plants are grown in an NFT system. Vine cuttings (15 cm length) of the sweetpotato cultivar ``Georgia Jet” was grown in a closed NFT system for a period of 120 days. Nutrient was supplied in a modified half-strength Hoagland's solution with a N:K ratio of 1:2.4. Destructive harvesting of plants occurred at 14 day intervals at which time plants were separated into their various component parts and analyzed for dry weight accumulation, leaf area index, crop growth rate, relative growth rate and net assimilation rate. Results showed dry weight distribution within the plant had a linear response for all component part evaluated. Greatest contributors to total plant dry weight was stem followed by leaves, fibrous roots, buds and flowers. However, once storage root production occurred it contributed the largest percentage to total plant dry weight. LAI was optimum at 80 days after planting (DAP) while CGR and RGR fluctuated throughout the growing season. Initially NAR was higher in foliage than storage roots but declined once storage root enlargement began, suggesting a translocation of assimilates to storage root.

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Audrey A. Trotman, P. David, D. Mortley, and J. Seminara

In a greenhouse experiment, the effect of the addition of higher levels of potassium (K) in the replenishment stock used to supply nutrients in a nutrient film technique system was examined. For this study, `TU-82-155' sweetpotato was grown hydroponically for 120 days under four nutrient application/replenishment treatments: 1) REG—solution was changed at 14-day intervals and volume allowed to fluctuate; 2) MHH—replenishment with 10× concentrate of a modified half Hoagland solution (MHH) or with water to regain set volume (30.4 liters) and maintain set point of electrical conductivity (EC, 1050–1500 μmho); 3) MHH + 2K—daily replenishment with 10× concentrate of a modified half Hoagland solution (MHH) or with water to regain the set volume and adjust EC to 1400 followed by application of 50 ml of a 2K stock solution to an EC of 1500; 4) MHH/2K—replenishment with 10× concentrate of a modified half Hoagland solution that incorporated the 2K component or with water to regain set volume (30.4 liters) and maintain set point of electrical conductivity (EC, 105–1500 μmho). The storage root yield (g fresh weight per plant) was significantly higher when the 2K treatment was incorporated with the 10× MHH stock. The storage root yield averaged 324.8 g/plant compared with a yield of 289.6 and 252.9 g/plant, respectively, for the REG and MHH nutrient application protocol. As in earlier experiments, the MHH treatment was comparable to the REG protocol, validating the use of a replenishment approach for nutrient supply in hydroponic sweetpotato culture.

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A.A. Trotman, C.E. Mortley, D.G. Mortley, P.P. David, and P.A. Loretan

Hydroponic growing systems have the potential to maximize phytomass production of peanut (Arachis hypogea) for Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS). Two greenhouse experiments were conducted with plant nutrients supplied in a modified Evan's solutionusing a nutrient film technique. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of hydroponic growing systems on pod and foliage yield of `New Improved Spanish' and `Georgia Red' peanut. Sub-objectives were to evaluate (i) the impact of channel size and (ii) the impact of gradation in pore size on the separation of the rooting zone from the zone of gynophore development. The treatments consisted in the first experiment of a wide channel (122 by 15 by 46 cm) fitted with a perforated (3.0mm diam.) PVC grid; a narrow channel (122 by 15 by 15 cm) either fitted with a perforated grid or without a grid. For 'New Improved Spanish' peanut dry foliage yield tended to be higher in the wide channel treatment (0.33 kg/sq m). But the narrow channel yielded the highest mean pod dry weight (0.12 kg/sq m). Pore sizes of the screens ranged from infinity (no screen). perforated grid, square mesh. filtering screen (75u) and solid screen (no pores). For `Georgia Red' peanut, the impact of gradation in pore size of screens was variable: pod number was highest with the filtering (food) screen (216/sq m) but pod dry weight was highest for the square mesh treatment (0.09 kg/sq m). Foliage yield was significantly greater for the filtering (food) screen (1.12 kg/sq m) than in any of the other treatments. The findings of the research indicate that use of screens is feasible and will not retard pod development. The presence of a perforated grid tended to result in lower phytomass production for `New Improved Spanish' peanut.

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P.P. David, A.A. Trotman, D.G. Mortley, C.K. Bonsi, P.A. Loretan, and W.A. Hill

Greenhouse studies were conducted to determine the effect of harvesting sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas L. (Lam.)] foliage tips (terminal 15 cm) on storage root yield, edible biomass index (EBI), and linear growth rate. Plants were grown hydroponically from 15-cm vine cuttings planted in 0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2-m growth channels using a recirculating nutrient film technique system. Nutrients were supplied from a modified half-strength Hoagland solution with a 1 N: 2.4 K ratio. Foliage tips were removed at 14-day intervals beginning 42 days after transplanting. Final harvest was at 120 days after planting. At the end of the growing season, harvested foliage tips totaled 225 g/plant (fresh mass). Foliage removal significantly reduced storage root yield, shoot biomass, and linear growth rate expressed on a canopy cover basis. The EBI was higher for plants with foliage removed than for the control.

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S. Burrell, D. Mortley, P. Loretan, A.A Trotman, P. P David, and G. W. Carver

The effects of light intensity on three sweetpotato cultivars [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] were evaluated in growth chambers, as part of NASA's Closed Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) program for long duration space missions. Vine cuttings of `TI-155', `GA Jet', and TUJ1 were grown using nutrient film technique (NFT) in a modified half Hoagland's solution with a 1:2.4 N:K ratio in channels (0.15×0.15×1.2 m). Plants were exposed to irradiance levels of 360 or 720 umols m-2s-1 with an 18/6 photoperiod in a randomized complete block design with two replications. Temperature was set at 28:22 lightdark and RH was 70%. Differences in plant response to were more related to cultivars than the effect of light intensity. Storage root number (8) fresh, (786 g/plant) and dry weights (139 g/plant) were highest for `TI-155' while foliage fresh and dry weights were highest for `TUJ1' when averaged across light levels. TI-155' (921 g/plant) and `GA Jet' (538 g/plant) produced greater yields at higher irradiance. `TUJ1' produced a higher yield (438 g/plant at the lower intensity compared to 219 (g/plant) at the higher intensity, suggesting this cultivar could produce storage roots in similar conditions in a CELSS.

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A.A. Trotman, P.P. David, D.G. Mortley, and G.W. Carver

In a greenhouse study, continuous use of the same plant nutrient solution for hydroponic culture of sweetpotato was investigated to determine the effect on storage root yield, plant growth and nutrient solution composition. Plants were grown for 120 days under continuous flow from a 30.4-liter reservoir. Plant growth was compared when nutrient solution was changed at 14-day intervals and when nutrient solution was not changed but nutrients replenished through addition of a Modified half-Hoagland's (N:K=1:2.4) plant nutrient solution when volume in reservoir was -10 liters. Storage root yield was significantly decreased (181 vs 310.3 g/plant) and foliar biomass was significantly increased (372.4 vs 2% g/plant) when nutrient solution was not changed Nitrate and phosphate concentrations decreased in the plant nutrient over the duration of the experiment while sulfate and chloride concentrations increased. Salinity and electrical conductivity were monitored at 2-day intervals and increased with duration of the crop. Increased foliage production may have been the result of nitrogen replenishment going largely for foliage rather than storage root production. It may be that continuous use of the same plant nutrient solution as practiced in this study, resulted in lowered phosphate and nitrate concentrations that limited uptake of these ions by sweetpotato plants, thus reducing yield

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A.A. Trotman, D. G. Mortley, P.P. David., and G.W. Carver

The effect of inoculation of sweetpotato (Ipomea batatas L. (Lam.)) cultivar “TI-82-155” with Azospirillum brasilense was investigated in an observational greenhouse experiment. Sweetpotato was grown in a closed hydroponic system and plant nutrients were supplied in a Modified Half-strength Hoagland's solution (N:K 1:2.4) using a nutrient film technique system (NFT). Plants were either supplied with mineral nitrogen (160 ppm) and noninoculated or were supplied mineral nitrogen (160 ppm) and inoculated. Storage root dry matter was higher under inoculation with A. brasilense. Inoculation also increased the percent total nitrogen in the shoot, leaves, and fibrous root. There was a significant difference in fresh fibrous root weight for the inoculated (262.5 g) over the noninoculated (177.1 g) treatments. Mineral nitrogen supplied in the PNS was not limiting because dry matter for plants inoculated with A. brasilense was not significantly higher than for the noninoculated control.

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P.P. David, A.A. Trotman, D.G. Mortley, D. Douglas, and J. Seminara

A study was initiated in the greenhouse to examine the effects of five \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NH}_{4}^{+}:\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document} ratios on sweetpotato growth. Plants were grown from vine cuttings of 15-cm length, planted in 0.15 x 0.15 x 1.2-m growth channels using a closed nutrient film technique system. Nutrient was supplied in a modified half-strength Hoagland's solution with a 1:2:4 N:K ratio. \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NH}_{4}^{+}:\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document} ratios investigated were 100:0, 0:100, 40:60, 60:40, and a control that consisted of a modified half-Hoagland solution with an N:K ratio of 1:2:4 and an \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NH}_{4}^{+}:\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document} of 1:7. Treatments were initiated 30 days after planting (DAP). Sequential plant harvest began 30 DAP and continued at 30-day intervals until final harvest at 150 DAP. Results showed a linear increase in fresh storage root fresh weight until 90 DAP for all treatments. However, from 60 DAP until the end of the growing season, plants grown in a 100% \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NH}_{4}^{+}\) \end{document} solution consistently produced significantly less storage roots than in all other treatments. While all other treatments showed a decrease in storage root fresh weight after 90 DAP, plants grown in 100% \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document} and the control solution continued to increase linearly in storage root production. Storage root dry weight throughout the growing season followed similar trends to that of storage root fresh weight. Data suggest that a nutrient solution containing NO 3as its sole nitrogen source may be adequate for sweetpotato growth. This would make it possible for utilizing a one-way pH control method for nutrient solution.