Dry Matter Accumulation, Nutrient Uptake and Nutrient Use Efficiency of Two Improved Cultivars of Taro (Colocasia esculenta) under Screen House Conditions in Samoa
Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International,
Taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott) is a staple crop of many of the South Pacific nations with an ever increasing export demand. In recent years, yields of taro have increased dramatically through breeding and selection. However, selections of improved lines are often entirely based on final yield. There are many physiological pathways by which increased potential yield may be achieved. Factors such as the accumulation of dry matter and nutrient use efficiency, merit investigation. Two improved (blight resistant) taro cultivars were planted and harvested for biomass measurements on a monthly basis for a total of eight months (30-240 days after planting) through destructive sampling. At each harvest, plants were separated into various plant parts and their dry matter accumulation and nutrient content were determined. Comparatively, cultivar Samoa 2 showed significantly higher uptake of N (25%), P (37.5%), K (33%), Mg (36.4%), Mn (22.7%) and Zn (48.3%) than cultivar Samoa 1. Even though maximum levels of total plant uptake of nutrients by the two cultivars did not differ between the cultivars, cultivar Samoa 1 plants absorbed 17% less N, 26% less P and 20% less K than those of cultivar Samoa 2 with the uptake uniformly distributed over the entire life cycle of the crop. Although cultivar Samoa 2 resulted in higher total plant (19.6%) and corm dry matter (10.4%) productions, cultivar Samoa 1 had a higher nutrient use efficiency, (kg of edible dry matter produced per kg of nutrient taken up), for N, P, K, Mg, Mn and Cu over cultivar Samoa 2. However, for Ca, Fe and Zn. Cultivar Samoa 2 had a higher nutrient use efficiency over cultivar Samoa 1. Based on nutrient use efficiency of the cultivars, Samoa 1 is recommended for marginal to rich soils while Samoa 2 for good to rich soils.