Controlling the shape of sweet potatoes in Louisiana

(Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter)
Published: Apr. 23, 2019 at 4:28 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Sweet potatoes come in all shapes and sizes, but an LSU AgCenter professor wants help farmers control the shape to match consumers’ demands.

LSU AgCenter says professor Arthur Villordon is researching how growers can manipulate agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer, to control the shape of the sweet potato during growth.

“Knowledge about factors that determine sweet potato storage root shape is of scientific and practical importance, and growers want a predictable storage root shape,” Villordon said in a story on

In the processing industry, especially in French fry production, more uniform, round-shaped roots are desirable, producing more uniform slices.

Consistency in root shape is also needed for increased mechanization, leading to overall reduced cost of production.

Because root shape is essentially determined by length and width, Villordon’s research goal is to control the downward root growth, or length, stopping it at some point and then focusing on a subsequent increase in root diameter.

“Learning more about the variables that determine root length and width will lead to production practices that determine the shape of the sweet potato,” he said.

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