India: Research centre to grow potato without soil

Soil and other growing media, such as cocopeat, are no longer necessary for growing potato as Potato Technology Centre (PTC) at Shamgarh in Karnal with the help of Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Shimla, is going to start work on a research project for producing potato in air by the aeroponics technique.

“We will set up three units of aeroponics seed production to produce short-duration and climate-resilient potato varieties. The trial for it will be started by the end of September,” said Dr Satyender Yadav, deputy director, PTC. “We have also signed an MoU with International Potato Centre (CIP), Peru, for assistance in the project and for providing new advanced heat-tolerant varieties, high dry matter and short-duration varieties,” he said.

About the technique, Yadav said they would plant micro-plants in the aeroponics unit and roots would be suspended in the air in the dark chamber of a high-tech greenhouse. The nutrient supply to roots would be made through nozzles under pressure. “With no exposure to soil, there is no threat of soil-borne diseases. This technique will also contribute to saving around 30-40 per cent of nutrients and fertilisers in comparison to the conventional method. Through the conventional method, we get crop for three months, but the crop can be extended to 180 days with this technique,” he said.

Read more at The Tribune (Parveen Arora)

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