Response of potato to discontinuous exposures of atmospheric ethylene: results of a long-term experiment in open-top chambers and crop growth modelling

T.A. Dueck, C.J. van Dijk, C. Grashoff, J. Groenwold, A.H.C.M. Schapendonk, A.E.G. Tonneijck

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    Abstract

    A field experiment in open-top chambers (OTCs) was performed to quantitatively assess the growth and yield response of potato to discontinuous exposures to atmospheric ethylene (200, 400 and 800 ppb, applied twice weekly and 200 and 400 ppb applied 4 times weekly, each for 3 h/event). To evaluate the effect of ethylene on potato tuber yield, a module was developed for an existing crop growth simulation model by incorporating the effects of ethylene on epinasty and photosynthesis. Explorations with the model showed that in a worst case scenario, ethylene-induced epinasty had only a marginal effect on tuber yield. Short-term exposures to ethylene under laboratory conditions inhibited photosynthesis, but it recovered within 48 h. When exposed to ethylene for longer than 12 h, irreversible damage of the photosynthesis apparatus occurred. Exposure to ethylene in the OTCs resulted in epinasty and reduced flowering. The number of flowers on potato decreased with increasing concentrations of ethylene, irrespective of the exposure frequency. Calculations showed that the number of flowers was significantly reduced at ca. 170 ppb ethylene, averaged over the hours of exposure. Ethylene concentrations up to 800 ppb, administered 4 times weekly for 3 h during the growing season, did not affect vegetative growth and yield in fumigated potatoes. Under these experimental conditions, the modified simulation model incorporating the effects of ethylene on epinasty and photosynthesis forecasts a 5 percent effect on tuber yield at concentrations of 1600 ppb. All results indicate that ethylene concentrations higher than 800 ppb are required to adversely affect tuber yield of potato.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1645-1654
    JournalAtmospheric Environment
    Volume37
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Keywords

    • polyethylene manufacturing plants
    • assimilation
    • simulation
    • yield
    • co2

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