Several physiological disorders in potato tubers, such as hollow heart, internal brown spot and brown centre are caused by calcium deficiency. The aim of this study is to find practical and sustainable methods to increase calcium concentration in tubers so that physiological disorders and cadmium levels can be minimized in Swedish potatoes. Calcium is essential for stabilizing the cell wall and is involved in stress-regulation in plants. Recent studies have shown that the calcium content in tubers may increase if soluble calcium is applied during tuber bulking. However, only calcium taken up by roots derived from stolons and tubers is transported to the tuber. Thus, it is possible to have high calcium concentration around the main root system and calcium deficiency in tubers, resulting in physiological disorders. The challenge is to find practical solutions of how to supply tubers with calcium during the growing season. This study will also investigate the effect of calcium application on the uptake of cadmium, since we have seen an increased tendency to accumulate cadmium in tubers when high amounts of calcium were applied probably due to increased availability of cadmium in the soil.
The project is financed by the Swedish Farmers’ Foundation for Agricultural Research for three years.
Project members are Helene Larsson Jönsson, Helene.Larsson.Jonsson@slu.se & Håkan Asp