Submitted to: National Sweetpotato Collaborators Group Progress Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: January 19, 2009
Publication Date: January 31, 2009
Citation: Jackson, D.M., Ling, K., Harrison Jr, H.F. 2009. Effects of Meristem Culture on Yields of Heirloom Sweetpotatoes in the Field. National Sweetpotato Collaborators Group Progress Report 2008. Abstract B11, Pgs 12-13 In K. Pecota (ed.). Technical Abstract: During 2005-2007, 23 heirloom sweetpotato varieties were taken through meristem shoot tip culture to generate virus-free plants. These cultivars were then grown in 12-plant plots that were replicated four times at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory during the summer of 2008. These plots included the cleaned-up material (“clean”) that had been taken through meristem culture and PCR-tested and the original plant introductions (“dirty”) that had been re-infected with sweet potato leaf curl virus (SPLCV) through whitefly transmission by Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) inside a greenhouse. Normal production practices were followed except that no insecticides were applied to these plots. Overall, there were highly significant differences in the weight of the clean vs dirty plots. All of the varieties had numerically higher yields in the clean plots, and for 12 varieties these differences were statistically significant. The clean plots ranged 1.1-7.4 times more yield than the dirty plots. There were also significantly more roots in the clean plots of most of the heirloom varieties. PCR analysis of storage roots and leaf material confirmed that the yield increases were related to the elimination of viruses from these materials.