Dr. Arthur Villordon
Dr. Villordon has been working with the LA sweetpotato industry for 19 years and in the last 10 years has focused on examining the role of root architecture and storage root formation as the integrator of intrinsic (genetic) and external (management and environmental) cues that influence sweetpotato productivity. As part of this effort, and along with colleagues, Villordon coordinated studies that investigated the effect of external cues like management and agroclimatic variables on storage root formation, a major focus of a 3-year USDA-NIFA-SCRI-funded work in 2009 that primarily addressed the needs of the fresh market industry. This work included on-farm trials to validate critical storage root formation stages as well as a mathematical model that predicted yields. A direct result of this collaborative effort was the determination that root architecture fundamentally influenced storage root formation and the three-dimensional configuration of the storage roots. Follow-up work has generated evidence of the link between phosphorus availability and storage root length and shape. This work has led to collaboration with growers for increased surveillance of soil phosphorus and monitoring of yields.