Highland Agriculture Research Institute, National Institute of Crop Science1
Department of Applied Plant Science, Kangnung-Wonju National University2
This study evaluated the responses of 18 potato cultivars to three levels of salinity stress (electrical conductivity, EC: 1.0, 4.0, and 8.0 dS·m-1). Stem, leaf, root, chlorophyll, tuber yield, and proline content were investigated and statistically analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and correlations. Stem number and stem diameter were not affected by salinity, but stem length and aerial weight showed highly significant responses to salinity. Aerial weight decreased with increasing salinity levels in most cultivars, while it increased in some the cultivars ‘Daejima’, ‘Goun’, ‘Haryeong’, and ‘LT-8’. Leaf number, leaf area index, and leaf weight were most significantly affected by salinity and the cultivar × salinity interaction. Root length, root weight, total chlorophyll and chlorophyll a were affected by salinity, but not by the cultivar × salinity interaction. The opposite trend was shown in chlorophyll b. Although there was great variability among cultivars, tuber yield decreased in all cultivars, and was most significantly influenced by salinity and the cultivar × salinity interaction. ‘Superior’, ‘Kroda’, ‘Romana’, and ‘Duback’ gave better tuber yields under salinity at EC 4.0 and 8.0 dS·m-1 than the cultivars with better aerial weights. Proline content was increased by salinity in all cultivars, and was more remarkable in the cultivars with better aerial weights than in cultivars such as ‘Superior’ and ‘Kroda’ with better tuber yields. Leaf number, leaf area index, leaf weight, and root length parameters were considered to be useful criteria in the evaluation of salt tolerance because of their high positive correlation with tuber yield; however, given its negative correlation with tuber yield under high salinity, proline content was not. Salinity tolerances varied greatly among potato cultivars. The low correlation between growth and yields of aerial parts under high salinity suggests that, in commercial agriculture, it might be more practical to compare relative yields to controls. Additionally, ‘Superior’, ‘Kroda’, ‘Romana’, and ‘Duback’ might be very useful cultivars to use in breeding programs to develop salinity-tolerant potatoes, as well as for sustainable potato production in saline areas.