Measuring variation in potato roots in both field and glasshouse: the search for useful yield predictors and a simple screen for root traits
- 800 Downloads
Potatoes have an inadequate rooting system for efficient acquisition of water and minerals and use disproportionate amounts of irrigation and fertilizer. This research determines whether significant variation in rooting characteristics of potato exists, which characters correlate with final yield and whether a simple screen for rooting traits could be developed.
Twenty-eight genotypes of Solanum tuberosum groups Tuberosum and Phureja were grown in the field; eight replicate blocks to final harvest, while entire root systems were excavated from four blocks. Root classes were categorised and measured. The same measurements were made on these genotypes in the glasshouse, 2 weeks post emergence.
In the field, total root length varied from 40 m to 112 m per plant. Final yield was correlated negatively with basal root specific root length and weakly but positively with total root weight. Solanum tuberosum group Phureja genotypes had more numerous roots and proportionally more basal than stolon roots compared with Solanum tuberosum, group Tuberosum genotypes. There were significant correlations between glasshouse and field measurements.
Our data demonstrate that variability in rooting traits amongst commercially available potato genotypes exists and a robust glasshouse screen has been developed. By measuring potato roots as described in this study, it is now possible to assess rooting traits of large populations of potato genotypes.
KeywordsSolanum tuberosum L. group Tuberosum Solanum tuberosum group Phureja Root Sustainability Delta carbon Water
General linear model
Specific root length
We thank all who helped in the field with digging up the potato root systems including Catherine Rose, Jackie Thompson, Lionel Dupuy, Gladys Wright, Ankush Prashar and Gaynor Mackenzie. We also thank the JHI field staff for setting-up and maintenance of the field trials. The research was also funded by the Scottish Government Work Package 1.7 “Profitable and sustainable agriculture” (2005–2011) and Work Package 3.3 “The soil, water and air interface and its response to climate and land use change” (2011–2016).
- Arsenault JL, Pouleur S, Messier C, Guay R (1995) WinRHIZO, a root-measuring system with a unique overlap correction method. Hortic Sci 30:906Google Scholar
- Bradshaw JE (1994) Quantitative genetics theory for tetrasomic inheritance. In: Bradshaw JE, Mackay GR (eds) Potato genetics. CAB International, Wallingford, pp 71–99Google Scholar
- Bradshaw JE, Bryan EJ, Ramsay G (2006) Genetic resources (including wild and cultivated Solanum species) and progress in their utilisation in potato breeding. Potato Res 49:49–65Google Scholar
- Hoagland DR, Arnon DI (1950) The water-culture method for growing plants without soil. Calif Agric Exp Station Circ 347:1–32Google Scholar
- Sachs J, Remans R, Smukler S, Winowiecki L, Andelman SJ, Cassman KG, Castle D, Defries R, Denning G, Fanzo J, Jackson LE, Leemans R, Lehmann J, Milder JC, Naeem S, Nziguheba G, Palm CA, Pingali PL, Reganold JP, Richter DD, Scherr SJ, Sircely J, Sullivan C, Tomich TP, Sanchez PA (2010) Monitoring the world’s agriculture. Nature 466:558–560PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sattelmacher B, Kuene R, Malagamba P, Moreno U (1990) Evaluation of tuber bearing Solanum species belonging to different ploidy levels for its yielding potential at low soil fertility. Plant Soil 129:227–233Google Scholar
- White PJ, Broadley MR, Hammond JP, Thompson AJ (2005a) Optimising the potato root system for phosphorus and water acquisition in low-input growing systems. Asp Appl Biol 73:111–118Google Scholar
- White PJ, Broadley MR, Greenwood DJ, Hammond JP (2005b) Proceedings of the International Fertiliser Society 568. Genetic modifications to improve phosphorus acquisition by roots. IFS, York, UK. ISBN 0853102058Google Scholar
- Wishart J, George TS, Brown LK, Thompson JA, Ramsay G, Bradshaw JE, White PJ, Gregory PJ (2009) Variation in rooting habit of potatoes: potential for improving resource capture. International Symposium “Root Research and Applications”, RootRAP 2–4 September, BOKU-Vienna Austria http://rootrap.boku.ac.at/fileadmin/files/RRcd/session02/oral/069.pdf
- Zhu J, Brown KM, Lynch JP (2009) Root cortical aerenchyma improves drought tolerance of maize (Zea mays L.). Plant Cell Environ 33:740–749Google Scholar