Relevant research questions on the crop physiology of enset

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Enset is an ideal crop for climate smart, sustainable
agriculture, especially in low-input, fragile environments. Its main strengths
are: prolonged canopy cover, recycling of nutrients, drought resistance, stable
dry matter allocation, large storage capacity of starch, high harvest index,
easy vegetative reproduction, and its ability to prevent soil erosion. Enset also
has high radiation use efficiency and is tolerant against repetitive removal of
leaves and repetitive transplanting. The plant and crop architecture of enset
are special and deserve to be investigated in more detail by architectural
models, such as functional-structural plant models (FSPMs). Through such
FSPMs we can investigate the consequences of (trans) planting and gap
filling practices on crop performance. Similarly, FSPMs can be used to assess
the effects of repetitive leaf pruning. Moreover, these models should be used
for 3D modelling of rainfall interception and water transfer by individual
leaves and the entire canopy, enabling the study of water storage in the plant,
drought tolerance, water use efficiency and protection against erosion. The
influence of leaf tearing and tattering on performance of individual leaves is
also relevant. Effects on photosynthesis and transpiration can be either
positive or negative at the level of the individual leaves. Upscaling these
effects to plant and crop performance is essential. Finally, it is likely that
current crop stands are infected by viruses. Quantifying the yield reduction
by such infections and the relation between virus titre and crop performance
can help to assess the need for virus-free planting material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
JournalEthiopian Journal of Biological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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