Salt Tolerance of Two Potato Cultivars
Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is one of the leading crop plants used for food production globally. The varieties that are presently grown are greatly hampered productively by increased salinity. The repercussion of salinity stress on productivity of potato plant was assessed using Shangi and Unica varieties sourced from KALRO Tigoni. Potato tubers were grown in 4L polybags packed with coco peat media and kept under greenhouse conditions. A two-factorial experiment in CRD was used with factors being cultivar and treatments of salt concentrations. Twenty-one days after emergence, plants were subjected twice in seven days to six different treatments of salinity levels (0, 6, 8, 10, 12,14dS/m) of NaCl in solution form prepared. Measurements of height 30 days after start of salt application, tuber weight and number at harvest were recorded. At 0dS/m, the two varieties performed optimally. Salt concentration significantly affected cultivars performance in height, weight of tubers and number of tubers. Both shangi and Unica demonstrated better performance at between 6-8 dS/m with less yield decrease than the other salt concentration. At 10dS/m, Unica’s performance was better as opposed to Shangi that was adversely affected by the salts though Shangi’s performance decreased at a higher rate with increase in salt. (Table 3). The tubers had the highest weight at 6 dS/m concentration while Unica species produced tubers with the highest weight. (16g). Unica therefore performed better than Shangi indicating that it’s more tolerant to salinity than Unica. This research was meant to identify a salt tolerant potato cultivar between Shangi and Unica which can be used for breeding for salt tolerant varieties. It was thus found that Unica is salt tolerant as had been found in other previous studies. Unica therefore is recommended for planting by farmers who cultivate in fields affected by high salinity incidences. In addition, Unica genes are recommended to breeders who can use them for breeding purposes to breed for salt tolerant cultivars.
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