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D.G. Mortley, J.H. Hill, C.K. Bonsi, W.A. Hill, and C.E. Morris

Growth chamber studies were conducted to determine if inverse day/night temperature could control canopy height of sweetpotato without adversely affecting storage root yield. Four 15-cm-long vine cuttings of TU-82-155 sweetpotato were grown in rectangular nutrient film technique hydroponic troughs for 120 days. Two troughs were placed into each of six reach-in growth chambers and subjected to 24/18, 26/20, 28/22, 18/24, 20/26, and 22/28 °C, respectively. Growth chamber conditions included a 12/12-h photoperiod, 70% RH, and photosynthetic photon flux of 1000 μmol·m-2·s-1 at canopy level. Total and edible storage root yields were reduced by 50% among plants grown under cool days/warm nights regimes. Harvest index was similar among treatments except for the low value obtained at 22/28 °C. Canopy height was positively correlated with the change in temperature, and for every 2 °C decrease there was a 3.1 centimeter decrease in canopy height. Inverse day/night temperature effectively controlled canopy height but at the expense of storage root production.

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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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D.G. Mortley, P.A. Loretan, C.K. Bonsi, W.A. Hill, and C.E. Morris

The effects of within-channel spacings (WCS; 13, 18, 25 cm) and between-channel spacings (BCS; 13, 25,38 cm) on yield and linear growth rate of sweetpotatoes [Ipomoea batalas (L.) Lam.] grown by use of the nutrient film technique (NFT) were evaluated. Storage root count, fresh and dry weights, and linear growth rate, expressed as root area, declined linearly in response to decreased BCS, while fresh and dry foliage weight decreased linearly and quadratically as spacing was reduced within the growth channels. Neither linear growth rate on a canopy area basis nor the edible biomass index was significantly affected by WCS or BCS.

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D.G. Mortley, C.K. Bonsi, P.A. Loretan, W.A. Hill, and C.E. Morris

Growth chamber experiments were conducted to study the physiological and growth response of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] to either 50% or 85 % relative humidity (RH). Vine cuttings of T1-155 were grown using the nutrient film technique in a randomized complete-block design with two replications. Temperature regimes of 28/22C were maintained during the light/dark periods with irradiance at canopy level of 600 μmol·m-2·s-1 and a 14/10-hour photoperiod. High RH (85%) increased the number of storage roots per plant and significantly increased storage root fresh and dry weight, but produced lower foliage fresh and dry weight than plants grown at 50% RH. Edible biomass index and linear growth rate (in grams per square meter per day) were significantly higher for plants grown at 85 % than at 50% RH. Leaf photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were higher for plants at 85 % than at 50% RH. Thus, the principal effect of high RH on sweetpotato growth was the production of higher storage root yield, edible biomass, growth rate, and increased photosynthetic and stomatal activity.

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D.G. Mortley, C.K. Bonsi, P.A. Loretan, W.A. Hill, and C.E. Morris

Growth chamber experiments were conducted to study the physiological and growth response of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) to 50% and 85% relative humidity (RH). The objective was to determine the effects of RH on pod and seed yield, harvest index, and flowering of peanut grown by the nutrient film technique (NFT). `Georgia Red' peanut plants (14 days old) were planted into growth channels (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m). Plants were spaced 25 cm apart with 15 cm between channels. A modified half-Hoagland solution with an additional 2 mm Ca was used. Solution pH was maintained between 6.4 and 6.7, and electrical conductivity (EC) ranged between 1100 and 1200 μS·cm–1. Temperature regimes of 28/22 °C were maintained during the light/dark periods (12 hours each) with photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) at canopy level of 500 μmol·m–2·s–1. Foliage and pod fresh and dry weights, total seed yield, harvest index (HI), and seed maturity were greater at high than at low RH. Plants grown at 85% RH had greater total and individual leaflet area and stomatal conductance, flowered 3 days earlier and had a greater number of flowers reaching anthesis. Gynophores grew more rapidly at 85% than at 50% RH.

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

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D.G. Mortley, P.A. Loretan, W.A. Hill, C.K. Bonsi, and C.E. Morris

Two sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] genotypes (`Georgia Jet' and the breeding clone TI-155) were grown at 12-, 15-, 18-, and 21-h light/12-, 9-, 6-, 3-h dark cycles, respectively, to evaluate their growth and elemental concentration responses to duration and amount of daily lighting. Vine cuttings (15 cm long) of both genotypes were grown in rectangular nutrient film technique channels for 120 days. Conditions were as follows: photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) mean 427 μmol·m–2·s–1, 28C day/22C night air cycle, and 70% ± 5% relative humidity. The nutrient solution used was a modified half-strength Hoagland's solution. Storage root count per plant and per unit area, yield (in grams per square meters per day), and harvest index increased, while production efficiency (in grams per mole) decreased with increased daily PPF. Stomatal conductance for both genotypes declined with increased daily PPF. Leaves were smallest for both genotypes at the 21-h light period, while storage root yield declined as leaf area index increased. Except for a linear decrease in leaf N and K with increased light period, elemental concentration was not significantly influenced.

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Desmond G. Mortley, P.A. Loretan, C.K. Bonsi, and W.A. Hill

Growth chamber studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of four diurnal temperatures (24/18C, 26/20C, 28/22C, and 30/24C) on yield, leaf expansion and unfolding, and vine length of sweetpotatoes [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam]. Four vine cuttings (15 cm in length) of `TI-155' and `Georgia Jet' were grown for 120 days using a modified half-Hoagland nutrient solution with a 1:2.4 N:K ratio. Irradiance at canopy level averaged 600 μmol·m–2·s–1 at an 18/6 photoperiod, and RH of 70%. Storage root number/plant for both cultivars decreased with increased temperature. Storage root fresh and dry weights for both cultivars increased with temperatures up to 28/22C and declined at 30/24C. Foliage fresh and dry weights were not influenced by temperature for either cultivar. Leaf expansion rate and vine length were highest at 26/20C and lowest at 24/18C for both cultivars. Leaf unfolding rate was not affected by temperature foe either cultivar, but was more influenced by time of measurements.

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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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D.G. Mortley, C.K. Bonsi, W.A. Hill, and C.E. Morris

`Georgia Red' peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) was grown hydroponically at 20/16 °C, 24/20 °C, 28/24 °C, and 32/28 °C, day/night air temperatures to evaluate effects on pod and seed yield, flowering, harvest index, and oil content. Ten-day-old peanut seedlings were transplanted into rectangular nutrient film technique troughs (0.15 × 0.15 × 1.2 m) and grown for 110 days. Growth chamber conditions were as follows: photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) mean of 436 μmol·m-2·s-1, 12 h light/12 h dark cycle, and 70% ± 5% relative humidity. The nutrient solution used was a modified half-Hoagland with pH and electrical conductivity maintained between 6.5 to 6.7, and 1000 to 1300 μS·cm-1, respectively, and was replenished weekly. Vegetative growth (foliage, stem growth, total leaf area, and leaf number) was substantially greater at increasingly warmer temperatures. Reproductive growth was significantly influenced by temperature. Flowering was extremely sensitive to temperature as the process was delayed or severely restricted at 20/16 °C. The number of gynophores decreased with temperature and was virtually nonexistent at the lowest temperature. Pod yield increased with temperatures up to 28/24 °C but declined by 15% at the highest temperature (32/28 °C). Seed yield, maturity, and harvest index were highest at 28/24 °C. Oil content (percent crude fat) increased an average of 23% and was highest at the warmest temperature (32/28 °C). These results clearly suggest that vegetative and reproductive growth, as well as oil content of peanut in controlled environments, are best at warmer temperatures of 28/24 °C to 32/28 °C than at cooler temperatures of 20/16 °C to 24/20 °C.