Photosynthesis under investigation: botanical seeds vs seed tubers

With the introduction of the novel hybrid potato technology, potato nowadays can be produced from both true potato seeds (TPS) and commonly used seed tubers. There are morphological differences observed between the two plant types, especially in development of the number of stems and types of lateral branches, which form the basic components comprising overall plant architecture. How different are potato plants grown from true botanical seeds and seed tubers?


Potato tuber yield and tuber number differ between TPS and tuber-grown plants, which can be the result of feedback between source-sink relationships and plant architecture. Source organs, such as leaves, perform photosynthesis which can convert solar energy into chemical energy and produce assimilates; while sink organs such as potato tubers can import and store biomass that make economic products.

The source-sink relations influence the development of plant architecture, specifically the lateral branching behaviour, in which feedback mechanisms are involved to regulate the whole plant development and growth. However, for the newly-developed hybrid potato plants, it is still unknown whether the assimilates productivity is different in source organs for different planting materials. A better understanding of photosynthetic traits in different materials of hybrid potato helps us further investigate whole plant source-sink relations, and therefore seeking the beneficial plant architecture for high yielding potato crop.

Objectives and methods

The aim of this study is to examine the photosynthetic characteristics of leaves at different positions on the potato plant and compare TPS and seed tuber grown plants. Light response of photosynthesis will be measured on leaves situated at different positions on the plant for two planting materials. Also, whole plant photosynthesis will be determined in the photosynthes-lab using a custom-built gas-exchange system. Leaf traits such as leaf area, leaf shape and biomass will be quantified. Plant architectural variables including the number of branches developed, branch length over time will be measured. More information to be explored if you have more, interesting ideas!


  • Gain insights in the principles of photosynthesis at the leaf and whole plant level, from both theoretical and practical trainings.
  • Perform greenhouse experiments and get to work with our excellent researchers and facilities in the photosynthesis-lab
  • Develop skills in data analysis and scientific writing and more