Seed Potato Performance after Storage in Light at Elevated Temperatures
Johansen, T.J.; Molmann, J.A. B.
Potato Research 61(2): 133-145
In regions with short growth seasons, it is of great importance to use potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) seed tubers with a high growth vigour and a short growth cycle. Such qualities may be obtained by treatments advancing the physiological age of the seed tubers. In this study, we have exposed tubers from four cultivars to various combinations of temperature and light conditions (green-sprouting) for 3-7 months in controlled climate. Subsequent sprout quality, seed tuber health and performance were studied in laboratory, greenhouse and field trials. Satisfactory short, sturdy and leafy sprouts were produced even after 7 months storage at 15 degrees C under light exposure. An assay of black scurf (Rhizoctonia solani) on the tuber skin showed that light exposure significantly reduced the occurrence compared with dark-stored tubers, while the average effect of storage temperatures was insignificant. In general, green-sprouting advanced emergence and plant growth by 1-2 weeks, and showed early tuber initiation and growth, compared to untreated material. Yields, 107 days after planting in the field trial, did not deviate significantly from untreated tubers. However, plant development at harvest was in accordance with general responses to physiological ageing of potato seed tubers, i.e. still tall and immature plants from untreated tubers, and short and mature plants from aged tubers. Results demonstrated the possibility of successful long-term storage of potato seed tubers in light at elevated temperatures and a potential for earlier harvests and higher early yields from such treatments.