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Field Crops Research

The potato tuber is a swollen stem, which is used as the propagation material for commercial potato crops. At the end of a period of dormancy, the number of sprouts growing from the tuber nodes represent loss of tuber apical dominance (AD) resulting in branching. In Mediterranean countries, seed tubers cannot be kept in cold storage for a long period as it leads to over-branching of the seed tuber after replanting. In order to test the hypothesis that temperature exposure in the field effects dormancy length and/or AD postharvest, we exposed seed tubers to different numbers of growing-degree days (GDD) during their development. Seed tubers were cultivated at 0, 300 and 880 m above sea level (ASL), at three different planting dates. Crops were exposed to 780–1250 GDD and extended growth period induce linear accumulating GDD. For both cultivars, ‘Desiree’ and ‘Nicola’, there was a low correlation between GDD in the field and the number of days of storage at 2 °C before 70% of the tubers were released from dormancy. The main factor affecting the duration of dormancy period was the cultivar. In both cultivars, there was a low correlation between the seed-tuber crop’s exposure to GDD and the number of stems that emerged from the replanted tubers. The number of produced stems was mainly affected by the length of the storage period until replanting. Tubers that were replanted in the fall (following 130–190 d of storage) produced two to four stems each; whereas tubers replanted in the spring (following 210–270 d of storage) produced four to seven stems. There was a low correlation between mother-plant exposure to GDD in the field and total yield of the daughter plants. In both cultivars, exposure of the mother plants to different numbers of GDD did not have any significant effect on the size distribution of the tubers produced by the daughter plants. Extending the storage period did consistently induce yield of smaller sized tubers. We suggest that potato seed-tubers do not “remember” their GDD history and their AD is mainly affected by the duration of cold storage.

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Postharvest temperature has a greater impact on apical dominance of potato seed-tuber than field growing-degree days exposure
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Postharvest temperature has a greater impact on apical dominance of potato seed-tuber than field growing-degree days exposure

The potato tuber is a swollen stem, which is used as the propagation material for commercial potato crops. At the end of a period of dormancy, the number of sprouts growing from the tuber nodes represent loss of tuber apical dominance (AD) resulting in branching. In Mediterranean countries, seed tubers cannot be kept in cold storage for a long period as it leads to over-branching of the seed tuber after replanting. In order to test the hypothesis that temperature exposure in the field effects dormancy length and/or AD postharvest, we exposed seed tubers to different numbers of growing-degree days (GDD) during their development. Seed tubers were cultivated at 0, 300 and 880 m above sea level (ASL), at three different planting dates. Crops were exposed to 780–1250 GDD and extended growth period induce linear accumulating GDD. For both cultivars, ‘Desiree’ and ‘Nicola’, there was a low correlation between GDD in the field and the number of days of storage at 2 °C before 70% of the tubers were released from dormancy. The main factor affecting the duration of dormancy period was the cultivar. In both cultivars, there was a low correlation between the seed-tuber crop’s exposure to GDD and the number of stems that emerged from the replanted tubers. The number of produced stems was mainly affected by the length of the storage period until replanting. Tubers that were replanted in the fall (following 130–190 d of storage) produced two to four stems each; whereas tubers replanted in the spring (following 210–270 d of storage) produced four to seven stems. There was a low correlation between mother-plant exposure to GDD in the field and total yield of the daughter plants. In both cultivars, exposure of the mother plants to different numbers of GDD did not have any significant effect on the size distribution of the tubers produced by the daughter plants. Extending the storage period did consistently induce yield of smaller sized tubers. We suggest that potato seed-tubers do not “remember” their GDD history and their AD is mainly affected by the duration of cold storage.

Scientific Publication
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