Mineral concentrations in sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas L. (Lam.)] tubers grown alone and intercropped with pulses and preserved by four storage methods. (68)
Keywords:Nutrient element concentration, Sweetpotato minerals, Sweetpotato storage, Storage methods.
AbstractThe most important staple root crop in Swaziland is sweetpotato [lpomoea batatas (L.) Lam.]. Its preservation is a major challenge to farmers because this crop rapidly deteriorates soon after harvest. Data are not available on mineral concentrations in stored sweetpotato tubers in Swaziland. A field experiment was conducted to determine the concentrations of macronutrients and micronutrients in sweetpotato grown in pure culture and intercropped with pulses, and thereafter stored. Three pulses: cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.), dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) were interplanted with sweetpotato for five months. Tubers were harvested and preserved for 12 weeks by four storage methods: cartons, pits, platforms, and sawdust. Thereafter, the stored tubers were analyzed for their mineral concentrations. Results showed significant differences (P = 0.05) among all mineral concentrations (except nitrogen) from the different storage methods. lntercropping had no significant effects on mineral concentrations. For better preservation of sweetpotato tubers as well as enhanced acceptability to consumers, it is recommended that sweetpotato tubers be stored in pits or in bagged sawdust.