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Potato Tubers and Soil Aeration

Cary, J.W. (1985) Potato Tubers and Soil Aeration. Agronomy Journal. 77:379-383.

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Potato plants are more sensitive to soil oxygen stress than many
other common crops. Some recent literature suggests this may be
due to a relatively high oxygen requirement for tuber growth, rather
than a greater requirement for the roots per se. Consequently, the
oxygen consumption of growing potato tubers (Solanum tuberosum
cv. Russet Burbank) was measured in the field on a Portneuf silt
loam (coarse-silty, mixed, mask Durixerallic Calciorthid). Typical
rates were 15 µg O2 cm-2 hr-1. A simple method for measuring soil
oxygen diffusion rates in the laboratory was then devised, utilizing
an oxygen meter and a stream of N2 gas. Soil conditions such as
texture, bulk density, compaction around expanding tubers, oxygen
sinks and water contents were studied with respect to their relative
effects on limiting oxygen uptake by tubers. The minimum soil oxygen
diffusion coefficient required for adequate tuber aeration is quite
sensitive to the soil respiration rate and the depth of soil covering
the tubers. Water contents of "field capacity" or a little wetter were
found to not necessarily inhibit tuber aeration in loamy sand, silt
loam, and silty clay soils provided the bulk densities were not excessive;
i.e., greater than 1.6 or 1.7 Mg m-3 in the silt loam. Reduced
aeration due to compaction around growing tubers is a possibility in
the silty clay, but probably not in well drained silt loam or loamy
sand. The criteria for a minimum acceptable soil oxygen diffusion
coefficient must be based on tuber periderm permeability, soil ethylene
generation, and other anaerobic soil reactions, as well as tuber
respiration per se.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 0546
Subjects: Irrigated crops > Potato
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:52
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2017 22:00
Item ID: 434