Potatoes make up a large proportion of our food. This is due to the variety they offer with their ability to be combined with numerous food products. This article discusses how these potatoes reproduce, and so you have an uninterrupted supply of potatoes to your table.
Reproduction of potatoes is carried out by several methods. These may include:
- grade 5
- natural reproduction
- production in the wild
- production through botanic seeds, tissue culture
The article provides critical insight into these processes.
Asexual reproduction is a process that the majority is familiar with. However, a few know that asexual reproduction takes place in human beings and plants. It is an essential process for plant reproduction.
Therefore, studying asexual reproduction in the field of agriculture is of significant importance. This process enables faster production on a broader scale. Potatoes undergo asexual reproduction through vegetative reproduction.
The process of vegetative reproduction is similar to budding. The formation of tubers, runners, and bulbs are all parts of vegetative reproduction. Potatoes are tubers that grow small leaves with buds on their surface.
These buds can grow into an individual new plant with the same genes as its parent. Due to the same genes, all potatoes are identical. Already existing root or stem leads to the formation of new offspring.
The part from where a potato grows is known as its ‘eyes’. New stems first grow into a structure called sprouts and then into a new plant. Farmers cut the whole potato into small pieces or chunks. Each piece should have at least one eye.
These chunks are planted in the ground. The eyes start growing roots and sprouts; eventually, they grow flowers too. An advantage of asexual reproduction is that it can produce an identical end product to the parent plant.
Therefore, the effort to maintain the quality is reduced by a significant amount. This process is similar to that of budding. However, potatoes are tubers, where an offspring plant grows from an established root stem.
Sexual reproduction, which is most common in animals, is also a significant part of reproduction in plants. Like animals, plants to bear gametes (male gametes and female ovules). The offspring produced will have qualities present in its parent.
As for potatoes, they first undergo the process of pollination to produce sexually. Self-pollination takes place, in which the male and female flowers are present on the same plant. The pollens are carried from the male part of the flower to that of the female via insects or wind.
To make pollination easy, these pollens are very light in weight to be carried through the wind. Potato plants are also very attractive to insects, which help in pollination. The cells involved in the sexual reproduction of potatoes are known as sexual seeds.
First, fruits are produced by the cultivators. These fruits contain many tiny seeds within them (approximately 300 per fruit). When the potato plant undergoes pollination (usually self-pollination), the pollens having chromosomes (along with genes) land on sexual seeds.
The seeds grow into proper potato plants with their unique characteristics. The growers do not usually favor sexual reproduction in potatoes because the new plant can have variations in it. It can be different from the parent plant, and its quality is unpredictable.
Reproduction Of Wild Potatoes
Wild potatoes are the species that are quite different from domestically grown potatoes. There are more than 100 types of wild potatoes growing worldwide. The Andes and the mountains of central Mexico are the largest producers of wild potatoes.
Although wild potatoes usually appear to be very small compared to the domestically grown ones, some species are found to be much larger than domesticated potatoes.
It is advised not to eat these potatoes due to the high amount of toxic content present (Glycoalkaloid content). Propagation occurs similarly to that of domesticated potatoes.
Wild potatoes also produce asexually through vegetative reproduction and sexually via seeds. It is preferred to grow wild potatoes sexually rather than asexually. The seeds can be stored for a long time, but as for asexual reproduction, the tubers need to be grown yearly.
The tubers are also not adaptable to the harsh climate outdoors, while the seeds can easily survive in cold temperatures. Wild potatoes produce flowers abundantly; therefore, sexual reproduction takes place.
Reproduction By Botanical Seed
Although most potato growers produce fruit, some of these are pollen sterile, which means they fail to produce fruit for some reason. And even if they reach the fruiting stage, the fruit produced is usually too small (up to 1.25″) in diameter.
Additionally, these fruits are green-colored and resemble potatoes. Fruits bear the actual seeds of a potato plant. They have around 300 seeds for every fruit. Potato plant usually reproduces through self-pollination.
This means that the chromosomes are randomly dispersed amongst the seeds. Every seed will develop in a plant that has its unique characteristics. Although this method is quite useful in crop improvement programs, the genotypic variation it offers is of little value to those who cultivate it.
This is because a new plant could be very different from the parent or mother plant. This phenomenon is problematic for the growers as they lose uniformity in their product. However, the end product that is obtained as a result of reproduction through botanical seed is free of diseases.
This can be an encouraging factor in potato production. However, large scale producers refrain from this method of reproduction due to its genotypic variation limitations. These seeds can also be stored in limited space.
Tissue culture in plants refers to culturing plant cells or tissues in a controlled and well-observed aseptic conditions. This also requires a solid or liquid medium that works as a platform for the process.
The process has great value in the fields of research besides potato production. Its significance is that through this process, disease-free micro-propagated plants can be developed. The process, therefore, has significant commercial value.
The following paragraph illustrates the importance and methodology of tissue culture linked with potato reproduction on a larger, industrial scale.
Why Is That A Modern Reproduction Technique
This can be referred to as a modern reproduction technique used by many advanced entities. Tissue culture allows a rapid fast-paced reproduction of potatoes. In the conventional tube reproduction, one tuber yields around eight daughter tubers in a growing season.
However, in the tissue culture, a large amount of 100,000 identical plantlets are produced within 8 months. This amount of plantlets, when moved to the field, can produce 50 MT of potatoes.
Every plant comes with a separate root system and growth points. An apical meristem is located at the apex of a potato stem. Each of the buds has a meristem that enables the plantlet to become a different plant.
Under this reproduction process, disease-free and healthy plantlets are grown in test tubes on a nutrient media that can be soil or even water at times. Every plantlet can be made into smaller 3 to 10 nodal sections.
Then every new cutting is placed inside a test tube. To maintain a particular aseptic environment for the plants, every instrument used for the culturing is well sterilized.
This is important as it keeps the air, surface, and the floor free from any disease-carrying microorganisms and, essentially, dust particles. Hence, all operations are carried out under a laminar airflow sterile cabinet.
Once the desired number of plantlets is achieved, the test tube plants are placed in sterile soil, where they complete their remaining growth cycle. The average time for which the plants are kept in culture room conditions is around 15 days. After which, these seedlings are then sold to the potato growers.
The bottom line is that potatoes are grown on a small and large scale according to the scale of yield required. They reproduce sexually, asexually, and also in the wild. Each yield of potatoes can be very different in taste and quality.
They also might have different disease immunities. For instance, the potatoes grown from tissue cultured seeds are disease-free since the meristems don’t have a vascular system, making them less prone to any disease-causing microorganisms.
Moreover, the production of potatoes through botanic seed is another method that is used. But the diversity in its end product is a factor considered by the producers who opt for it. The growth of potatoes in the wild is more of a natural phenomenon.
These can be larger or smaller than the potatoes grown as tubers. Therefore, after diving into the reproduction of potatoes, it is clear that the ways they reproduce are more than one; this perfectly sits in with the fact that they have multiple uses once they reach your table.