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Nitrogen (N) fertilizers increased food production over the last 60 years, but also contributed significantly to the use of fossil energy and the total amount of reactive N in the environment. Agriculture needs to reduce N input and increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Legislation like the Nitrate Directive (91/767/EEC) and the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) forces a reduction in N supply in crop production. The effects of this constraint on yield and quality of potato are expected to be significant since N plays an important role in the vegetative development and production of potato. Considerable amounts of N are needed as N recovery is notoriously low due to the small and shallow roots. The overall aim of this thesis is to improve the nitrogen use efficiency of potato under low nitrogen supply. Specific aims are i) to understand the N effects on potato performance, especially under low N input, ii) to quantify the genotypic variation under contrasting N inputs, iii) to identify quantitative trait loci associated with the crop’s response to nitrogen. We used ecophysiological models to dissect the canopy development into biological meaningful parameters as phenotyping tools. Two potato populations (a set of tetraploid cultivars and a biparental diploid population) were phenotyped in the field under two contrasting N levels. Additionally, a set of 6 cultivars from three maturity groups (early, middle and late) were phenotyped in more detail under 5 nitrogen conditions combining two input levels and two fertilizers types plus a control without nitrogen fertilisation. The curve-fit parameters were, together with other agronomical traits, used in the agronomic and genetic analysis. Our approach using the ecophysiological models captured the phenotypic response to N, enhancing the interpretation of the nitrogen effects and of the differences among maturity types. The nitrogen effects on canopy development resulted in large differences in light interception, tuber yield, tuber size distribution and nitrogen uptake. There were differences in the response to nitrogen between the diploid biparental population and the set of tetraploid cultivars. In general, in the diploid population, having less vigour and therefore less potential to respond to the extra nitrogen, the time required to complete each phase of the canopy development was longer than in the set of tetraploids. In the set of cultivars the rate of early vegetative growth was higher, the onset of the phase with maximum canopy cover was earlier, and the duration of maximum canopy was longer than for the diploid population. However, in both the diploid and the tetraploid population maturity was the major factor accounting for genetic variation in canopy development and tuber development traits. The genotypic differences were reflected in quantitative trait loci that were either N dependent or N independent, with pleiotropic regions affecting most of the maturity-related traits. Few traits showed quantitative trait loci on common regions that were not maturity related like those on chromosomes 2 and 6 (association mapping) or linkage groups ma_VI, pa_VIII pa_XI. Maturity obscures other genotype-dependent physiological traits; therefore it is imperative to find traits that are responsible for genotypic variation, but not related to maturity type. Moreover the results showed that nitrogen use efficiency under low nitrogen input is higher than under high nitrogen input, and higher for late cultivars than for early cultivars. Therefore, breeding for nitrogen use efficiency under low input requires direct selection combined with good response to extra nitrogen and should be done within each maturity group. Finally in a broader context we discussed the need of high-throughput phenotyping in breeding for complex traits, like those involving efficiency, to make the most of the large amount of genetic data, all possible based on advances in technology in remote sensing and images analysis.
Keywords: Association mapping, Breeding for low input, Canopy development, Maturity type, Nitrogen use efficiency, Potato, Solanum tuberosum, Quantitative trait loci.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||6 Apr 2016|
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
- solanum tuberosum
- nutrient use efficiency
- plant breeding
- crop physiology
- plant physiology
- quantitative trait loci
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- 1 Finished
Development of markers on Nitrogen use efficiency (Nit-UE) in potato; an integrated agronomic, physiological and genetic analysis.
1/05/09 → 6/04/16