, Volume 199, Issue 1–2, pp 13–29 | Cite as

Diversity of crop development traits and nitrogen use efficiency among potato cultivars grown under contrasting nitrogen regimes

  • C. A. OspinaEmail author
  • E. T. Lammerts van Bueren
  • J. J. H. M. Allefs
  • B. Engel
  • P. E. L. van der Putten
  • C. G. van der Linden
  • P. C. Struik


Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) requires abundant nitrogen (N) to perform well and has low nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). We assessed phenotypic variation among 189 potato cultivars for NUE and the association between NUE and ecophysiological variables describing canopy development (CDv), under high and low N input. In 2009 and 2010, 189 cultivars were grown with N supply (soil N + fertiliser N) of 75 or 180 kg N/ha at Bant, the Netherlands. CDv was assessed weekly as the percentage of soil covered by green potato leaves (%SC). Data were analysed using a model that described CDv as a function of thermal time, based on the Beta function and estimates of cardinal temperatures. Nitrogen significantly affected model-derived, biologically relevant, curve-fit parameters for each cultivar. The t 1 (i.e., thermal time required to reach maximum soil cover (Vx)) was higher at low than at high N. Other parameters were higher at high than at low N, especially Vx and the period over which it was maintained. Nitrogen also affected tuber dry matter yield, tuber size and weight distributions, N content and N uptake but not tuber dry matter percentage. The total area under the %SC curve was highly correlated with yield in both years. Cultivars performing well under high N also performed well under low N. There was large variation in NUE component traits among cultivars; maturity type partially explained this variation. Variables of the CDv model captured this variation, N effects on light interception and its correlation with yield.


Breeding for low input Canopy development Maturity type Nitrogen use efficiency Potato Selection criteria 



The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the European Community financial participation under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities, for the Integrated Project NUE-CROPS FP7-CP-IP 222645. The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use which might be made of the information contained herein.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Ospina
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • E. T. Lammerts van Bueren
    • 2
  • J. J. H. M. Allefs
    • 3
  • B. Engel
    • 4
  • P. E. L. van der Putten
    • 1
  • C. G. van der Linden
    • 2
  • P. C. Struik
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Crop Systems AnalysisWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Wageningen UR Plant BreedingWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Agrico ResearchBantThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Biometris, Wageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands

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