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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Production of Prenuclear Minitubers of Potato with Peat-Based Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Inoculum


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 87 No. 5, p. 942-946
    Received: Aug 29, 1994

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Brendan Niemira,
  2. Gene R. Safir ,
  3. Raymond Hammerschmidt and
  4. George W. Bird
  1. Bird, Dep. of Entomology, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824.



Prenuclear minitubers of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) are the source material used to produce field-grown seed potatoes. Seed potatoes are in turn planted by commercial growers to produce potatoes for fresh packing and processing. Arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) have been demonslrated to increase yield in low-input systems. This study was conducted to determine whether and how a commercial AM inoculum influences prenuclear minituber production under high-input commercial conditions. A peat-based medium containing the mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradix was tested in a commercial minituber greenhouse production facility. This medium increased yields of the most valuable sizes of prenuclear minitubers by 84%, and increased total prenuclear minituber yield by 49% when compared with conventional peat-vermiculite media under commercial growing conditions. Potato plants grown in this mycorrhizal medium had more uniform stolon development, as well as stolons 39% longer than plants grown in the conventional medium. These yield increases and morphological changes occur in the presence of very low levels of mycorrhizal colonization, and there was no evidence of the enhanced plant P nutrition generally associated with mycorrhizai symbiosis. These effects may indicate the presence of a hormonally mediated plant response to the mycorrhizae that results in more uniform stolon growth and an increase in tuber initiation.

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