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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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Jeffrey K. Brecht, Robert L. Shewfelt, Joseph C. Garner, and E.W. Tollner

Cross-sectional X-ray-computed tomography (X-ray CT) images through the equator of tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., cv. Sunny) ranging in maturity from immature (Ml) to advanced mature green (M4) revealed localized differences in X-ray absorption related to the formation of locular gel during maturation of the fruit. While maturity stage was poorly correlated with average X-ray absorbance and standard deviation or with average fruit density and water content, significant relationships' existed between maturity stage “and the number of image pixels with absorbance values >10 (Ml vs. M2 vs. M3) or 20 (M3 vs. M4) Hounsfield units. Using discriminant analysis, a relationship was developed that correctly identified the maturity class of 77% of the fruit and placed 96% of the tomatoes into the correct or an adjacent class.

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P.P. David, C.K. Bonsi, E. Bonsi, R.D. Pace, O. Clark, and L.C. Garner Carva

The effects of sequential foliage topping on two sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L) Lam cvs Georgia Jet, TU-82-18921 cultivars were investigated in a field trial. Three initial foliage cuttings (15 cm cutting from the growing tip) were initialed at 45.60 and 75 days after planting (DAP). Each initial cutting date was followed by zero, one or two cuttings at biweekly intervals.

Total storage root yields were not affected by cutting treatments regardless of the cultivar investigated. Both cultivars differed in their response in dry matter accumulation, while Georgia Jet was not affected by cutting treatments, TU-82-1892 accumulated less dry matter when foliage tips were removed twice during the growth cycle (75.90 DAP) compared to all other cutting treatments.

The amount of foliage tips removed from each cultivar differed significantly over all treatment levels with Georgia Jet producing more foliage tips than TU-82-1892. However. production of foliage tips for both cultivars was greatest when foliage cutting was delayed until 75 DAP.

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D.G. Mortley, P A. Loretan, A.A Trotman, P. P David, L.C Garner, and G. W. Carver

The effects of altering, nutrient solution N:K ratio on growth of `TI-155' sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] was evaluated in a greenhouse, as part of NASA's Closed Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS) program for long duration space missions. Vine cuttings of `TI-155', were grown using nutrient film technique (NFT) in a modified half Hoagland's solution in channels (0.15×0.15×1.2 m). Plants were grown for 42 days in a culture solution in which N was doubled (6 mM) in order to accelerate foliage growth after which treatment N:K ratios of 1:2.4, (control) 1:4.8, and 1:7.2 were initiated. A randomized complete block design with 4 replications was used. The number of storage roots/plant increased linearly as K was increased in the solution. Storage root fresh and dry weights, growth rate (g m-2 d-1), fibrous root dry weight, foliage fresh and dry weights, and edible biomass index (root mass/total plant mass), though not significant all increased as K was increased in the nutrient solution. Nutrient solution analyses showed that K uptake was greatest in plants at the highest K level, while nitrate uptake was steady over the duration of crop growth regardless of treatments.