• Richard N. Arteca


The initiation and subsequent growth of tubers in potato plants results from a series of biochemical and morphological changes which occur above and below the ground. Early investigators attributed the process of tuber formation to the existence of surplus carbohydrates. Kraus and Kraybill (1918) established the nutritional theory. They studied changes in the C/N ratio in relationship to the growth of tomato plants. The first person to introduce a form of the nutritional theory as it applies to tuberization was Wellinsiek (1929). He suggested that the causal factor of tuberization was the concentration of metabolites from photosynthesis, especially the carbohydrate-to-nitrogen ratio. Others have supported this theory (Werner 1934; Milthorpe 1963). Under unfavorable conditions such as high temperature and low light intensity large amounts of assimilates are used for shoot and root growth, thereby inhibiting tuberization. If tubers are already present during unfavorable conditions they can be totally reabsorbed if these conditions persist. More recently, a considerable amount of attention has been directed toward the effects of plant growth substances on tuberization, now called the hormonal theory. The first report suggesting the existence of a specific factor produced under favorable photoperiods was by Driver and Hawkes (1943). This factor was proposed to be transmitted to the stolons where it induced tuberization. It was not until Gregory’s classical grafting experiments (Gregory 1954, 1956) that experimental evidence was presented supporting the hormonal theory of tuberization. Based on grafting experiments he postulated the existence of a specific tuber-forming substance which was produced under certain conditions of photoperiod and temperature and transmissible through graft unions and was not a major metabolite, such as a carbohydrate. Since this time there have been a number of other studies supporting this theory (Chapman 1958; Kumar and Wareing 1973, 1974; Ewing 1987).


Salicylic Acid Tuber Formation Potato Plant Solanum Tuberosum Jerusalem Artichoke 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard N. Arteca
    • 1
  1. 1.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUSA

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