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Arthur Villordon and Christopher Clark

In sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas), the successful emergence and development of lateral roots (LRs), the main determinant of root system architecture (RSA), determines the competency of adventitious roots (ARs) to undergo storage root formation. The present study investigated the effect of three levels of root-knot nematode (RKN) inoculum of race 3 of Meloidogyne incognita on LR length, number, area, and volume in ‘Beauregard’, ‘Evangeline’, and ‘Bayou Belle’, sweetpotato cultivars which are highly susceptible, moderately resistant, and highly resistant, respectively, to M. incognita. The three RKN levels were control (untreated), medium (500 eggs/pot), and high (5000 eggs/pot). In general, the number of galls after 20 days for each cultivar was consistent across RKN levels and two planting dates (PDs). ‘Beauregard’ inoculated with medium and high RKN levels showed 2.9 and 18.9 galls on each AR, respectively. ‘Evangeline’ had 0.5 and 3.4 galls at medium and high RKN levels, respectively. By contrast, ‘Bayou Belle’ showed only 0.9 galls at the high inoculum level. There was a significant PD × cultivar effect and cultivar × RKN level effect for all root attributes. LR attributes varied within and among resistant and susceptible cultivars with a general trend for increase in all root growth attributes in response to RKN infection in the first (PD1) and second PD (PD2). ‘Evangeline’ showed relatively consistent within-cultivar increase across PD1 (medium and high RKN levels) and PD2 (medium RKN level only). LR length, number, area, and volume within ‘Evangeline’ plants subjected to high RKN increased 122%, 126%, 154%, and 136%, respectively, relative to the untreated control plants in PD1. ‘Evangeline’ (PD1 and PD2) and ‘Bayou Belle’ (PD1 only) showed significant increase in all root attributes relative to the susceptible ‘Beauregard’ at medium or high RKN levels. In PD1, LR length, number, area, and volume in ‘Evangeline’ plants subjected to high RKN increased 165%, 167%, 176%, and 190%, respectively, relative to ‘Beauregard’ plants at the same RKN level. These findings are consistent with some data in other systems wherein nematode infection is associated with cultivar-specific root compensatory growth and demonstrate how genotype and environment interact to modify root development responses. These data can be used to further understand the role of cultivar-specific responses to nematode infection and can lead to the consideration of root traits in selection strategies.

Free access

Arthur Villordon and Jason Franklin

Shape measurements in horticultural research have generally been expressed as ratios or indexes. Computer-based image analysis enables the objective quantification and statistical analysis of two-dimensional sample shape variability. In addition, the availability of public domain software facilitates the inexpensive but accurate quantification of object shape in horticultural research. We describe the procedures for measuring sample shape using the following publicly available software: ImageJ, ImageTool, and SHAPE. Using U.S. #1 sweetpotato storage root samples from plots subjected to various weed control treatments, we detected significant differences in elongation, compactness, as well as shape attributes. We also measured size and shape variability from representative fruit, leaf, and floral organ samples. The results demonstrate that, where possible, measurement of two-dimensional samples can be undertaken inexpensively and accurately using public domain software applications.

Free access

Arthur Villordon and Heather Carroll

Digital image analysis (DIA) was evaluated for use in assessing size and shape attributes of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] storage roots in herbicide studies. Digital image files of U.S. no. 1 storage roots were taken using a digital camera. Image analysis was performed using a publicly available software package. Eight size and shape attributes were measured and subjected to univariate and multivariate procedures. DIA revealed differences for storage root width and roundness attributes. Principal component analysis suggested that storage root length, width, and roundness best described the variability of the storage root sample. The results demonstrate the potential use of DIA in augmenting data from sweetpotato herbicide trials as well as other investigations that require information about storage root size and shape responses.

Free access

Arthur Villordon*, Jason Franklin, and Don LaBonte

The use of handheld computers such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) represents a feasible method of automating the transfer of files to computers for archiving and statistical analysis. Data collected using the PDA can be transferred directly to a database program on a desktop computer, virtually eliminating errors associated with the reentry of manually collected data. These devices are highly portable and can be housed in protective cases, enabling data collection even in inclement environments. The availability of handheld database programs that permit the development of electronic forms further makes the PDA a viable data collection platform for scientific research. These database applications not only allow novice users to develop customized forms that facilitate the recording of alphanumeric data; these applications also synchronize directly with current desktop-based database and spread-sheet applications. We used Microsoft Access database tables, along with Visual CE, a PocketPC database application, to generate electronic forms for collecting data from research trials conducted in 2003. To facilitate comparison with manual data collection, we also recorded observations using “pen and paper” methods. We found no differences between both methods in the length of time required to enter observations. However, the PDA transferred the data to a computer 600% faster relative to the manual reentry method. Using the handheld computer, field data was immediately available for compilation and statistical analysis within minutes of completing the data gathering process, at the same time ensuring the integrity and continuity of the files.

Free access

Arthur Villordon, Craig Roussel, and Tad Hardy

The sweetpotato weevil [SPW, Cylas formicarius (Fabricius)] is an important economic pest in “pink-tagged” or SPW-infested areas of Louisiana. From time to time, sweetpotato weevils are detected in “green-tagged” or SPW-free locations. When sweetpotato weevils are detected in “green'tagged” areas, the produce is quarantined and may not be shipped to locations that do not allow “pink-tagged” sweetpotatoes. As part of the statewide SPW monitoring program, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) conducts a statewide pheromone-based trapping program to monitor SPW presence in beds and fields. We used SPW presence-absence data with a GIS-based logistic regression modeling tool to assess the feasibility of developing a model for predicting SPW risk in sweetpotato beds. Using pheromone trap data from 2001–03, we performed stepwise logistic regression experiments to assess the role of various weather variables (daily mean maximum and minimum temperature, rainfall) in the occurrence of SPW in beds. Our modeling experiments showed a strong relationship of mean daily minimum temperature during the winter months with SPW occurrence in beds. In particular, a logistic regression equation developed from 2003 trap data and mean April daily minimum temperature created a spatially accurate map of SPW risk for 2002. However, the same model did not accurately predict the 2001 SPW risk. These results indicate that additional variables are needed to improve the predictive ability of the model. Spatial risk mapping can be a potentially useful tool for decision makers in choosing between risk-averse and -prone decisions.

Full access

Arthur Villordon, Jason Franklin, and Don LaBonte

Handheld computing devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), can potentially reduce repetitive tasks that pervade data collection activities in horticultural research. PDA-collected records are electronically transferred to a desktop computer, eliminating manual reentry as well as the need of reviewing for incorrect data entries. In addition, PDAs can be enclosed in protective cases, enabling data collection in inclement weather. Visual CE-generated database forms installed on PDAs were used to electronically collect data from research trials conducted in 2003. The records were subsequently transferred to Microsoft Access desktop database tables for archiving and subsequent statistical analyses. Data for certain trials were also manually collected using paper forms to facilitate comparison between manual and PDA-assisted data collection methods under controlled conditions. Using paired samples analysis, we determined that electronic transfer of records reduced the time required to store the records into desktop computer files. Manual and PDA-based recording methods did not vary in the time required to enter numerical measurements. Our experience demonstrates that off-the-shelf software and consumer PDA devices are viable options for data collection in research. PDA-assisted data collection is potentially useful in situations where remote, site-specific records need to be merged into a central database and where standardized measurements and observations are essential for performing analysis.

Free access

Arthur Q. Villordon and Don R. LaBonte

Clonal propagation assures the maintenance of genetic purity of a sweetpotato variety. The existence of foundation seed programs further contributes to the conservation of favorable genetic constitution in a commercial cultivar. However, the improvement of current maintenance procedures is necessary as shown by the occurrence of mutations and the decline of certain commercial varieties. Information on the nature and extent of changes in sweetpotato would therefore be useful in this regard.

`Jewel' clones obtained from eight state foundation seed programs were subjected to yield tests and a RAPD-based assay. Differences in nearly all yield grades were detected during the 1991, 1992, and 1993 seasons. The yield of U.S. No. 1 grade roots varied from 27% to 46%. The quality factors measured also varied: % alcohol insoluble solids varied by 13%, while sucrose ranged from 9.6% to 19%. Total DNA was extracted from each clone and assayed against 40 primers. All primers produced amplified fragments. A total of 110 reproducible bands was generated by 38 primers. Putative polymorphic markers were scored in 21 (18.58%) of these bands based on the presence or absence of amplified products. The results suggest an underlying cause for the variability observed in phenotypic traits within sweetpotato clones.

Free access

Arthur O. Villordon and Don R. La Bonte

Our research compared the extent of genomic variability between plants originating from adventitious sprouts and nodal cultures. Plant materials, derived from a single sprout and originating from a storage root each of `Jewel,' `Sumor,' and L87-95, were clonally propagated for seven generations nodally and through adventitious sprouts. PCR-based analysis using 15 random primers identified 58 scorable molecular markers, 37 (63.79%) of which were shared by all three genotypes represented by 60 samples (10 nodal and 10 adventitiously derived plants/genotype). Of 29 putatively polymorphic markers, 24 (82.75%) were putative polymorphisms across the entire data set. The remaining four (13.79%) represented putatively fixed genotypic differences that were monomorphic within genotypes. A multidimensional scaling analysis differentiated seven (23.33%) adventitiously derived phenotypic marker variants, compared to four (13.33%) among nodal materials. Our results support previous findings that, relative to nonmeristematic tissues, meristematic regions strictly control cell division and DNA synthesis that exclude DNA duplication and other irregularities.