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N.W. Osorio, X. Shuai, S. Miyasaka, B. Wang, R.L. Shirey and W.J. Wigmore

Nitrogen (N) is often the most limiting mineral nutrient for taro growth. Two experiments were carried out under hydroponics conditions to determine the effects of varying solution N levels and N form on taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott cv. Bun Long) growth and foliar nutrient concentrations for 42 days. In the first experiment, taro plants were grown at six NH4NO3 levels (0, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mm N). In the second experiment, taro plants were grown at a total N level of 3 mm with five nitrate (NO3-): ammonium (NH4+) percent molar ratios (100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75, and 0:100). In the N level experiment, dry matter and leaf area increased up to 2 mm N and then decreased at the highest N level. The reduced growth of taro at the highest N level was attributed in part to a high NH4+ level that reduced uptake or translocation of cations, such as Ca2+, Mg2+, and Mn2+. Nitrogen concentration in leaf blades increased with increasing N levels. The critical foliar N concentration that coincided with 95% of maximum growth based on a quadratic model was 40.4 g·kg-1 (dry weight basis). In the N form experiment, NO3-: NH4+ ratios of 75:25 or 100:0 favored greater plant growth compared to other treatments. Taro plants grown in NH4+-rich solutions drastically acidified the solution pH, and had retarded growth and smaller leaf area compared to those grown in NO3--rich solutions.