Increasing the Production Efficiency of Potato with Plant Growth Retardants

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The vigorous growth phenotype of ‘Bondi’ is characteristic of high endogenous gibberellins, making it ideal for evaluating the efficacy of gibberellin biosynthesis inhibitors to improve allometric partitioning and production efficiency in potato. Foliar applications of prohexadione-calcium decreased foliar growth with no effects on tuber number, size, or yield. In contrast, when applied pre-tuberization, paclobutrazol decreased maximum foliar growth from 91 to 63 MT ha−1, increased tubers plant−1 from 6.4 to 8.9, and decreased average tuber fresh weight from 296 to 188 g tuber−1 with no reduction in tuber yield, which effectively increased the harvest index. However, when applied post-tuberization, PBZ reduced maximum foliar growth from 91 to 72 MT ha−1 with no effects on tuber number, size, or yield. Paclobutrazol can alter source/sink relationships in potato to increase production efficiency and this may translate to reduced agronomic inputs. Application timing and concentration are important for modulating tuber set and size.


El fenotipo de crecimiento vigoroso de “Bondi” es característico de altas giberelinas endógenas, que lo hacen ideal para evaluar la eficacia de los inhibidores de la biosíntesis de giberelinas para mejorar la partición alométrica y la eficiencia en la producción de papa. Aplicaciones foliares de calcio-prohexadione disminuyeron el crecimiento foliar sin efecto en número de tubérculos, tamaño o rendimiento. En contraste, cuando se aplicó en pre-tuberización, el paclobutrazol disminuyó el máximo crecimiento foliar de 91 a 63 MT ha-1, aumentó los tubérculos por planta-1 de 6.4 a 8.9, y disminuyó el promedio del peso fresco de tubérculo de 296 a 188 g tubérculo-1 sin reducción en rendimiento de tubérculo, el cual incrementó efectivamente el índice de cosecha. No obstante, cuando se aplicó en la post-tuberización, PBZ redujo el máximo crecimiento foliar de 91 a 72 MT ha-1 sin efectos en el número de tubérculos, tamaño o rendimiento. El paclobutrazol puede alterar las relaciones fuente/demanda en papa para aumentar la eficiencia de producción y esto pudiera traducirse en la reducción de los insumos agronómicos. La calendarización en la aplicación, y la concentración, son importantes para modular el amarre y tamaño de tubérculo.

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Financial support was provided by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant program through the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and the Northwest Potato Research Consortium.

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Correspondence to N. Richard Knowles.

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Ellis, G.D., Knowles, L.O. & Knowles, N.R. Increasing the Production Efficiency of Potato with Plant Growth Retardants. Am. J. Potato Res. 97, 88–101 (2020) doi:10.1007/s12230-019-09759-y

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  • Solanum tuberosum
  • Gibberellin inhibitors
  • Paclobutrazol
  • Harvest index
  • Tuber set
  • Tuber size distribution