Physiological, Morphological Changes and Storage Root Yield of Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] under PEG-Induced Water Stress
Sweetpotato is an important tuberous root crop rich in nutrients such as vitamins and carbohydrates, and can grow well in arid regions with less water consuming crop. The aim of this research was to evaluate the storage root yields, physiological, biochemical and morphological traits in sweetpotato cv. ‘Japanese Yellow’ subjected to polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced water deficit. At harvest (4 months after planting) the number of storage roots per plant and storage root fresh weight in sweetpotato treated with 5% PEG (-0.54 MPa) in nutrient solution of hydroponic culture declined by 20.0% and 47.4% compared to the control without PEG, respectively. Leaf area and leaf dry weight significantly decreased by 85.6% and 95.3%, respectively when exposed to water deficit stress. Sucrose content (114.7 mg g-1 dry weight; DW) in storage roots of sweetpotato grown under PEG-induced water deficit conditions was enriched by 2.2 fold of control (52.5 mg g-1 DW) and was greater than in storage roots derived from soil culture (70.3 mg g-1 DW). Total soluble sugar in the root and storage root tissues was enriched and may play a key role as osmotic adjustment (OA) in PEG-induced water stressed plants. Free proline and sucrose contents were also dominated in the leaf tissues to maintain the leaf osmotic potential in water stressed plants. In addition, chlorophyll degradation, chlorophyll fluorescence diminution and stomatal closure were found in plants grown under PEG-induced water deficit conditions, leading to reduction in net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and subsequently lesser amounts of glucose and fructose contents in the leaf tissues. Sucrose and free proline in the roots of sweetpotato play a key role as major osmotic adjustment when subjected to PEG-induced water deficit condition. Basic knowledge gained from this research will further be investigated the drought defense mechanism in sweetpotato via osmoregulation system.
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