Aeroponics Soil-free Potato Seeds Grown in Peru
Potato Technology Centre, (PTC) Shamgarh, in the district in collaboration with Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) in Shimla and International Potato Centre (CIP), Peru, has started producing potato seeds with the help of the aeroponics technique. In this technique, there is no need for soil and other growing media like coco-peat for production. The scientists say that in aeroponics technique, potato seeds are grown in a mist environment. They claim potato seeds grown through this technology are free from soil-borne diseases.
“We have started the process of growing minituber (potato seed) plants with the help of aeroponics technique. It is a cutting-edge technique for growing plants and potato seeds in air or mist environment. There is no need for soil and this technology is free from soil-borne diseases,” said Dr. Prem Chand Sindhu, deputy director, PTC, Shamgarh.
He maintained that they have established three units, which have the capacity to grow one million minitubers in one crop cycle, which is of three months.
Dr. Manish Sainger, senior consultant at PTC, said that on an average, 30 minitubers and maximum 50-60 minitubers can be obtained from each plant. He said that through this technique, 7-10 times more minitubers can be obtained in comparison to conventional methods like net-house or open field.
About the technology, Sainger said they planted tissue culture plants in the grow chambers which have pipes and nozzles for mist spray on the roots of the plant. “The roots of the plant hang in the air in the chamber and all the nutrients are provided through mist, which consists of all the required elements for plant growth and tuberisation, periodically. The upper part of plant remains at the top of the chamber,” he added. He said that the size of minitubers is uniform at 3-4 gm.
Sainger said it is easy to transport minitubers at minimal cost. “These seeds will be given to growers at subsidized rates by the Department of Horticulture. Later, seed growers will cultivate these seeds in the soil for the multiplication of seeds.”