The effects of nitrogen, potassium and chloride on nutrient composition in Russet Burbank potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) Public Deposited

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  • Three greenhouse experiments were designed to measure the effects of N, K and Cl on the nutrient uptake by Russet Burbank potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). A Deschutes sandy loam soil from Powell Butte area in Central Oregon, low in potassium, was used to study these effects. Nitrogen applications produced significant increases in dry matter yield when applied in combination with at least 100 ppm of K. It was noted that the most significant changes in nutrient composition in the plant tissues occurred when 100 ppm N was added together with at least 100 ppm of K. Yield depressions were encountered when 600 or 800 ppm N was applied. Chloride application changed the nutrient composition without causing any significant effect on total plant growth. Nitrogen application significantly increased all nitrogen components and uptake of Ca and Mg. Greatest increases occurred with the 100 ppm N rate. Nitrogen application caused significant reduction in Cl content and uptake. Potassium content was reduced by applied N, but K uptake was reduced only when excessive N applications reduced yields. Potassium application significantly increased K content and uptake at all levels of N. Significant decreases in Mg content and uptake were obtained whenever X was applied. Small decreases in Ca content were also noted when K was applied. Potassium application reduced the contents of certain nitrogen fractions in the plants; but the total uptake of N was generally increased when K was added. Nitrogen and K applications changed the milliequivalent sums of cations (C = Ca+Mg+K+Na), anions (A = NO₃+P+S+CI), and total anions (TA = N+P+S+CI). Nitrogen addition increased all three sums, whereas K application decreased the three sums. There was no significant change in cation minus anion, (C-A), content as a result of K fertilization, indicating that a constant organic acid production was maintained independent of K level. However, N application reduced the (C-A) content, indicating a compensatory reduction in the organic acid contents when the anion uptake was not matched by an equal amount of cation uptake. It was generally found that there was a higher accumulation of inorganic ions in the stems than in the leaves. Specifically, more NO₃-N was found in the stems whereas more protein-N was found in the leaves. The total anions, (TA), however, were comparable for both plant parts. A very important finding was that the application of Cl reduced the level of NO₃-N and total N found in the plants but did not change the amount of N found in the protein fraction. Almost all of the decreases in content and total uptake of N were presumably due to the antagonism in the accumulation of NO₃ and CI ions in the plants. It appears that the uptake data provided a better index for evaluating the responses and effects of the applied nutrients than did the content data.
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