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Development of drought-tolerant sweet potato genotypes


Sweet potato is of outstanding socioeconomic importance. Although it is considered rustic, water deficiency affects the yield and quality of this vegetable. Sweet potato is widely cultivated in western São Paulo state, being the main producing region in the state. However, the cultivation of this vegetable in this region is characterized by the adoption of obsolete genotypes and the occurrence of dry periods, which invariably reduces yield and affects the commercial pattern. So far as one can tell from the literature, there is no report of Brazilian research aiming to enhance sweet potato yield in regions of rainfall instability. Although the use of irrigation can contribute to the management of this problem, it must be considered that the costs of such a technique are often impractical for small and medium-sized producers. Thus, this project will seek to develop sweet potato genotypes tolerant to water deficit, as a strategy to guarantee yield and income for producers in western São Paulo state and other producing regions with similar soil and climate characteristics. To this end, this proposal is divided into three stages: (1) screening of tolerant genotypes in a greenhouse and open field and study of stress in a greenhouse, (2) polycrossing between tolerant genotypes and obtaining clones, and (3) evaluation and selection of clones. In addition to water deficit tolerance, yield and root quality parameters will be considered in the selection process. The final stages of selection will be carried out following the premises of participatory plant breeding. It is expected to obtain genotypes of sweet potato that are tolerant to water deficit and that present high yield and quality of tuberous roots, guaranteeing socioeconomic development for the producing regions. (AU)

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