Yield and quality of potato tubers depending on a complex of chemicals applied under radioactive contamination

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The influence of chemicals on productivity and quality of potato tubers cv. Kurazh cultivated on sod-podzolic sandy soils under radioactive contamination was studied in the south-west of the central Non-Black Soil Zone of the Russian Federation. Organo-mineral system (manure, 40 t/ha + N75P30K90) applied in complex with chemicals and biological agent Gumistim turned to be the most effective fertilizer system providing the maximum potato yields during the experiment. Moreover, complex application of the chemicals increased protein level and decreased starch content in tubers, it also improved amino acid composition; concentration of heavy metals and specific activity of cesium-137 did not exceed sanitary and hygienic standards (SanPiN 2.3.3 1078-01).

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Introduction Potato is one of the leading agricultural crops ensuring the country’s food security to a large extent. In terms of acreage, potato is second after cereals and is the most popular in the consumer basket of the population used for the production of a variety of food products. Moreover, it is the most important forage and technical crop [1-3]. The high competitiveness of potatoes and their intended use is largely determined by a number of quality indicators, the most important of which is the bio-chemical composition of tubers [4]. One of the factors affecting the productivity, quality indicators of potato tubers and biochemical composition, is cultivation conditions including soil, climate and optimal mineral fertilizing throughout the growing season [5]. In order to increase potato productivity, it is necessary to use science-based agricultural practices allowing to optimize fertilizer doses, ratio of nutrients, pesticides, humic fertilizers [6], which are natural biochemical active substances stimulating growth, improving plant nutrition, taking part in redox reactions at the cellular level, reducing radionuclide and heavy metal intake, increasing plant resistance and activating anti-stress mechanism in plants [7-9]. Vast territories in the south-west of the Non-Black Soil Zone of the Russian Federation are radioactive contaminated, where cesium-137 is the main dose-generating radionuclide. Therefore, the main task of agricultural producers is to introduce scientifically-based agrochemical methods into plant cultivation processes that contribute to reducing transition of 137Cs to marketable products and where potassium fertilizers play a major role [10-12]. The purpose of the research was to study the complex application of fertilizers, chemicals and biological agent Gumistim during cultivation of early potato cultivars grown in sod-podzolic radioactively contaminated sandy soil. Materials and methods The field experiments were carried out on the experimental field of Novozybkov branch of Bryansk State Agrarian University on sod-podzolic, loose-sandy radioactively contaminated soil in 2013-2017. Arable layer of the soil had the following agrochemical parameters: pHkcl 6.7-6.9, Ng - 0.51-0.56 mmol-EQ/100 g of soil; absorbed alkali - 12.2-16.4 mmol-EQ/100 g of soil; mobile phosphorus and exchangeable potassium (according to Kirsanov) - 370-390 and 76-86 mg/kg of soil, respectively. Organic matter content was 1.9 to 2.2 (according to Tyurin). The density of 137Cs soil contamination in the experimental plot was 526-666 kBq/m2. Early potato cv. Kurazh was studied in the four-factor experiment, total area of the experimental plot was 90 m2, and the accounting one was 70 m2. The experiment scheme included the following variants: control (without fertilizers); manure 80 t/ha; manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90; N75P30K90; N150P60K180; N225P90K270; manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 + pesticides; N75P30K90 + pesticides; N150P60K180 + pesticides; N225P90K270 + pesticides; manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 + pesticides + Gumistim; N75P30K90 + pesticides + Gumistim; N150P60K180 + pesticides + Gumistim; N225P90K270 + pesticides + Gumistim. Such fertilizers as cattle manure, double granulated superphosphate, potassium chloride were used in the experiments. All the fertilizers were applied in spring during plowing of the fall tillage. Bioagent Gumistim contains biohumus in the dissolved form: humins, vitamins, natural phytohormones, succinic acid, micro-and macronutrients in organic form, and spores of soil microorganisms. The biological agent (6 l/ha) was used in two terms: the first was combined with chemical pesticides in the budding stage, and the second - at the end of flowering. Weeds, pests and diseases on potato plants were controled by the following chemicals: Zencor 50% a.i. - 0.7 kg/ha; Titus - 0.050 kg/ha; Ridomil Gold - 2.5 kg/ha; Sektim Phenomen - 1.25 kg/ha, Aktara - 0.06 kg/ha. Depending on weather conditions, no less than 3 treatments were carried out during the vegetation period. The farming practice of potato cultivation was generally accepted for the region. Potato planting was carried out in the third decade of April, harvesting - in the first decade of August, tuber harvest was weighted. Field and laboratory-analytical researches were performed according to the generally accepted methods in agrochemical service in the center for collective use of scientific equipment and devices of the Bryansk State Agrarian University [13, 14]. The weather conditions of vegetation periods in the years of field experiments differed in moisture and temperature. 2014 and 2016 were the most favorable for these indicators, less moisture was in 2013, 2015 and 2017, characterized by low soil productive moisture in the arable soil horizon, insufficient rainfall and uneven precipitation. These circumstances resulted in fluctuations in potato tuber yields over the research years. Rezults and dicussion Potato yield was the lowest in the control variant and averaged 9.3 t/ha for 5 research years (Table 1). Table 1 Yield and quality of potato tubers depending on the chemicals applied (average for 2013-AL2017) Variant Yield, t/ha Increase compared to control, t/ha Starch content, % Protein content, % Protein yield, t/ha Control without fertilizers 9.3 - 13.0 2.06 0.202 Manure 80 t/ha 20.5 11.2 12.6 2.16 0.469 Manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 25.9 16.6 12.4 2.26 0.640 N75P30K90 22.0 12.7 12.3 2.15 0.520 N150P60K180 23.8 14.5 11.8 2.24 0.589 N225P90K270 23.0 13.7 11.6 2.34 0.583 Manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 + pesticides 30.7 21.4 12.2 2.41 0.786 N75P30K90 + pesticides 23.5 14.2 12.3 2.16 0.553 N150P60K180 + pesticides 27.8 18.5 12.0 2.25 0.648 N225P90K270 + pesticides 26.2 16.9 11.7 2.37 0.633 Manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 + pesticides + Gumistim 35.1 25.8 12.4 2.51 0.876 N75P30K90 + pesticides + Gumistim 25.2 15.9 12.4 2.28 0.620 N150P60K180 + pesticides + Gumistim 31.1 21.8 12.5 2.39 0.786 N225P90K270 + pesticides + Gumistim 27.2 17.9 12.5 2.46 0.726 НСР05, t/ha 2.7 - 0.64 0.16 - Organic fertilizer (litter manure 80 t/ha) increased yields of potato tubers by 11.9 t/ha compared to the control, amounting to 21.7 t/ha. The use of mineral fertilizers in the dose of N150P60K180 (according to the number of nutrients, a manure dose of 80 t/ha) resulted in 23.8 t/ha potato yields, which was 14.5 t/ha higher compared with the control, and 3.3 t/ha higher compared to variant with 80 t/ha of manure. The results indicate a higher availability of nutrients contained in mineral fertilizers and a higher coefficient of their use in the first year after application of relatively organic fertilizer. Applying organic fertilizer (manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90) increased potato yield by 16.6 t/ha compared to the control, and by 5.4 t/ha compared to organic system (manure 80 t/ha). The use of higher doses of NPK (N225P90K270), especially under deficit soil moisture and high air temperatures, did not contributed to the adequate increase in potato tubers, the yields of tubers was at the level of the average NPK dose (N150P60K180). Cultivating potato plants with pesticide application contributed to a further potato yield increase which averaged 1.5-4.8 t/ha. The higher yields of potato tubers were observed while appliing fertilizers, chemical plant protection means and biological agent Gumistim in complex. On average, over the research years, the increase in potato yield reached the level of 15.9-25.8 t/ha under complex use of chemicals in comparison with the control. The highest potato yield - 35.1 t/ha - in was obtained in the variant with organic-mineral system of fertilizing in combination with pesticides and biological agent Gumistim (manure 40 t/ha + + N75P30K90 + pesticides + Gumistim). On average over the research years, starch content decreased by 0.5-1.9% under the influence of the studied means of chemicalization. The applied systems of fertilizer both at separate, and at complex application promoted an increase in the protein content of potato tubers from 2.06 up to 2.51%. The protein content of potato tubers increased on average by 0.13-0.25% under complex use of chemicals. The maximum protein yield (0.876 t/ha) resulted from organic mineral fertilizing combined with plant protection means and Gumistim. Quantitative changes in the amino acid composition of potato tubers depended on the studied fertilizer systems (Table 2) on average over 5 years. In quantitative terms aspartic acid and leucine were allocated. The tubers of potatoes contain the least of histidinum and methionine referring to irreplaceable amino acids. The largest number of essential amino acids (% of the total amount of all amino acids), 38.0 and 39.0 %, was obtained in the organic mineral fertilizer system (manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90), mineral (N150P60K180) in complex with plant protection means and biological agent Gumistim. Table 2 The effect of fertilizers, chemicals and Gumistim bioagent on amino acid composition of potato tubers, tons per 1 kg of dry mass (average for 2013-2017) Amino Acids Variants Control Manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 + pesticides + Gumistim + N75P30K90 + N75P30K90 + pesticides + N75P30K90 + pesticides + Gumistim Alanine 5.82 5.76 5.48 6.88 5.86 Arginine 4.46 4.53 4.62 4.66 4.68 Asparagine 18.42 18.56 18.86 18.88 18.76 Valine* 5.82 5.58 5.64 5.91 5.86 Histidine* 1.29 1.42 1.46 1.53 1.52 Glycine 3.71 3.84 3.88 3.93 3.92 Glutamine 5.09 5.13 5.18 5.22 5.26 Isoleucine* 3.32 3.48 3.53 4.12 3.86 Leucine * 6.92 7.29 7.38 7.42 8.54 Lysine* 4.58 4.66 4.85 5.13 5.26 Methionine* 1.66 1.68 1.72 1.74 1.76 Promin 6.32 6.46 6.56 7.54 6.73 Serine 4.36 4.41 4.46 4.63 4.52 Tyrosine 4.06 4.43 4.48 5.18 4.52 Threonine 3.66 3.84 3.88 3.92 3.90 Tryptophan* 4.36 4.43 4.52 5.21 4.58 Phenylalanine* 3.88 4.26 4.35 5.13 5.09 Amount 87.73 89.73 90.85 95.43 94.62 Essential amino acids, % of total amino acids 37.0 37.0 37.0 38.0 39.0 Note: *essential amino acids. It was established that concentration of heavy metals under the influence of the applied means of chemicalization changed (Table 2). Thus, concentration of copper in potato tubers varied on average from 1.35 to 1.46 mg/kg dry mass in the variants of the experiment. Table 3 The content of heavy metals and cesium-137 in potato tubers depending on the chemicals used (2013-2015) Variant Content, mg/kg Specific Activity 137Сs, BK/kg Reduction ratio, times Cu Pb Zn Mn Cd Control without fertilizers 1.35 0.11 3.86 11.21 0.01 80 - Manure 80 t/ha 1.37 0.16 2.53 10.87 0.015 30 2.67 Manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 1.22 0.12 0.36 12.04 0.015 26 3.08 N75P30K90 1.32 0.08 3.18 9.16 0.015 21 3.81 N150P60K180 1.43 0.06 3.52 11.18 0.02 20 4.00 N225P90K270 1.46 0.22 3.75 11.56 0.025 17 4.71 Manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 + + pesticides 1.12 0.11 2.30 9.97 0.015 19 4.21 N75P30K90 + pesticides 0.86 0.06 2.12 10.26 0.015 23 3.48 N150P60K180 + pesticides 0.68 0.06 2.42 11.18 0.018 18 3.44 N225P90K270 + pesticides 1.32 0.13 2.48 12.45 0.025 16 5.00 Manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90 + + pesticides + Gumistim 1.06 0.10 2.09 11.16 0.01 17 4.71 N75P30K90+ pesticides + Gumistim 0.74 0.06 2.18 10.17 0.012 17 4.41 N150P60K180+ pesticides + Gumistim 1.18 0.05 2.22 10.13 0.015 14 5.71 N225P90K270 + pesticides + Gumistim 1.26 0.10 2.34 9.60 0.02 10 8.0 MAC, мg/kg 5.0 0.5 10.0 - 0.03 The introduction of consistently increasing doses of mineral fertilizers resulted in increase in concentration of copper in potato tubers compared to the control, but its concentration in tubers did not exceed the marginal acceptable concentration (MAC). The concentration of lead varied in the range of 0.05-0.22 mg/kg in variants on average over the research years. Complex application of chemicals (var. 7-14) contributed to decrease in concentration of lead in potato tubers in comparison with the control. Content of manganese in potato tubers varied from 9.16 to 12.45 mg/kg according to the variants of the experiment, with its concentration in tubers of 11.21 mg/kg. The potassium content in potato tubers did not exceed the threshold value (0.03 mg/kg) on average over the research years, and it was within the marginal acceptable concentration (MAC). During five-year research specific activity of cesium-137 in the control variant was 80 Bq/kg (standard 120 Bq/kg). The applied chemicals contributed to the reduction of specific activity of 137Cs in potato tubers. The application of organic fertilizer system (manure 80 t/ha) resulted in 2.67-fold reducing the specific activity of 137Cs in potato tubers in comparison with the control. Organic-mineral system of fertilizer caused 3-fold decrease in specific activity of cesium-137 in potato tubers compared to the control. The use of the mineral fertilizer system with consistently increasing doses of NPK reduced the specific activity of 137Cs in potato tubers by 3.81-4.71 times. The use of plant protection chemicals has also contributed to the reduction in the specific activity of 137Cs in potato tubers through biological dilution while increasing the yields of potato tubers in these variants. Complex application of chemicals contributed to the reduction of specific activity of cesium-137 in potato tubers compared to the control variant. The greatest decrease in the specific activity of 137Cs (8.0 times) was obtained in the variant N225R90K270 in combination with pesticides and bio-agent Gumistim (var. 14). Conclusions Thus, while cultivating potatoes in sod-podzolic sandy radioactively contaminated soil the maximum yields of potato tubers of 31.1 t/ha was achieved by using the organic-mineral system of fertilizers (manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90) in complex with plant protection agents and Gumistim. The applied fertilizer systems, both in separate application and in combination with the pesticides and Gumistim reduced the starch content in tubers by 1.5-1.9%, and increased the protein content in tubers on average by 0.13-0.25%. The maximum protein yield of 0.876 t/ha was ensured the variant with organic mineral system (manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90) in combination with pesticides and bioagent Gumistim. The greatest level of essential amino acids in potato tubers was provided by the organic-mineral (manure 40 t/ha + N75P30K90) and mineral (N150P60K180) systems in combination with plant protection means and Gumistim. The concentration of heavy metals in potato tubers in all studied fertilizer systems did not exceed MAC. Specific activity of 137Cs in potato tubers was reduced from 2.67-8.0 times both in separate and complex application under the influence of the studied fertilizer systems

About the authors

Aleksey Evgenievich Sekirnikov

Bryansk State Agrarian University

Author for correspondence.
Email: bgsha@bgsha.com
Bryansk region, Russian Federation

Postgraduate Student of the Department of Agrochemistry, soil science and ecology

Vladimir Vitalievich Sedov

Bryansk State Agrarian University

Email: bgsha@bgsha.com
Bryansk region, Russian Federation

Postgraduate Student of the Department of Agrochemistry, soil science and ecology

Viktor Fedorovich Shapovalov

Bryansk State Agrarian University

Email: bgsha@bgsha.com
Bryansk region, Russian Federation

Doctor of Science in Agriculture, Professor of the Department of Agrochemistry, soil science and ecology


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