Manual on quality seed potato production using aeroponics
The purpose of this manual is to facilitate the diffusion of aeroponics for quality seed potato production in developing countries to improve access and lower costs. Aeroponics is a soilless method for producing pre basic potato seed. The method can produce higher yields (up to 10-times higher), more quickly, and at lesser cost than conventional growing methods. The conventional way of producing quality pre basic potato seed is to multiply clean in vitro material in the greenhouse. This method usually produces yields of 5 to 10 minitubers per plant. The conventional method uses a sterile substrate made of soil and a mixture of various components. In modern agriculture, methyl bromide has been used as the soil disinfectant of choice, because of its low cost and ability to efficiently eliminate arthropods, nematodes, pathogens and weeds, without altering other soil characteristics. However, methyl bromide was discovered to significantly affect the atmosphere’s ozone layer and is now banned in agricultural activities. The International Potato Center evaluated alternative methods (e.g., steam heat, solarization, metham sodium, and chloropicrin) and found steam sterilization to be most reliable. However, it is significantly more expensive compared to methyl bromide due to equipment and fuel costs.