Field phenotyping of potato to assess root and shoot characteristics associated with drought tolerance

Jane Wishart, Timothy S. George, Lawrie K. Brown, Philip J. White, Gavin Ramsay, Hamlyn Jones, Peter J. Gregory

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    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Aims: Potatoes are a globally important source of food whose production requires large inputs of fertiliser and water. Recent research has highlighted the importance of the root system in acquiring resources. Here measurements, previously generated by field phenotyping, tested the effect of root size on maintenance of yield under drought (drought tolerance). Methods: Twelve potato genotypes, including genotypes with extremes of root size, were grown to maturity in the field under a rain shelter and either irrigated or subjected to drought. Soil moisture, canopy growth, carbon isotope discrimination and final yields were measured. Destructively harvested field phenotype data were used as explanatory variables in a general linear model (GLM) to investigate yield under conditions of drought or irrigation. Results: Drought severely affected the small rooted genotype Pentland Dell but not the large rooted genotype Cara. More plantlets, longer and more numerous stolons and stolon roots were associated with drought tolerance. Previously measured carbon isotope discrimination did not correlate with the effect of drought. Conclusions: These data suggest that in-field phenotyping can be used to identify useful characteristics when known genotypes are subjected to an environmental stress. Stolon root traits were associated with drought tolerance in potato and could be used to select genotypes with resilience to drought.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)351-363
    Number of pages13
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2014


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