Physiology applied to sugarcane production in Colombia

Quevedo Amaya YM; Cepeda Quevedo AM; López Murcia M. Á. | NOV 2023 | ISBN 978-958-8449-28-9 


Plant Physiology is the science that studies the functioning of plants. In this sense, it explains, through chemical and physical laws, how plants use solar radiation to synthesize, from inorganic substances, organic molecules with which they build the complex structures that make up their body. However, the main objective of Plant Physiology is to try to understand how the chemical and physical processes that occur in different places and states of plant development are integrated and how they are modulated (Azcón Bieto and Talón, 2013). Thus, this science plays a fundamental role in the development of agricultural production systems based on the correct understanding of the processes that occur in the crop plant from the cellular level to the community level, in a context of interaction with other plants of the same species and with the prevailing climatic variables of the place
where it grows and develops. However, the understanding of the physiological processes and phenomena that occur in the plant is not sufficient per se, but must be the basis for building applied knowledge that translates into new or better management practices for sugarcane cultivation. and in the production of improved genetic materials.

The physiology of production is responsible for the study of the factors and components that determine the real performance of a productive system and at the same time helps to detect gaps, which must be closed, with respect to potential performance. Frequently, the physiology of production involves the study of the so-called components of yield, that is, the physiological variables that condition the production of a crop per unit of area per unit of time. In sugar cane, the three main components of yield have been identified: the number of grinding stems per hectare, the individual weight of the stem and the concentration of sucrose per unit mass of the stem.

As an explanatory note, given the tendency that exists in the Colombian sugar agroindustry to consider as performance only the relationship between the weight of the processed sugar cane and the weight of the quintals of sugar obtained, it is necessary to note that this chapter addresses the different factors that affect crop productivity, which for most species are called 'yield components'. In this purpose, it develops the theoretical concepts and implications of the formation of the number of stems, the weight of the stem and the concentration of sucrose per unit of weight of the stem, based on the information obtained from experiments with varieties improved by Cenicaña (CC ), in the conditions of the Cauca River valley.

About the authors

Quevedo Amaya, YM

Agricultural engineer with a master's degree in agricultural sciences – crop physiology. He graduated in 2013 from the University of Tolima, and in 2020 from the National University of Colombia – Bogotá headquarters. In 2012 he completed his degree work in cotton seed physiology at the Nataima Research Center of Agrosavia. Between the years 2013 – 2020 he worked as a research support professional at the Nataima Research Center of Agrosavia where his work focus was research on genetic improvement and physiology of semi-annual crops such as corn, cotton, rice and perennials such as cocoa. He is the first author and co-author of various works published in indexed journals. Between 2017 and 2019 he carried out his master's thesis, which aimed to elucidate the morphological, physiological and biochemical effects and responses of cotton to water deficit stress. In 2020 he joined the agronomy program of the Colombian Sugarcane Research Center (Cenicaña) as a physiologist. There he is principal investigator and associate of research projects that aim to understand the physiological functioning of sugarcane cultivation, with the aim of formulating and evaluating management practices that lead to improving productivity, profitability or generating new genetic materials. He is currently the coordinator of the research area in Plant Physiology and Maturation of the Cenicaña agronomy program. 

Cepeda Quevedo, AM

Agricultural Engineer and candidate for a master's degree in Agricultural Sciences – Crop Physiology, graduated in 2017 from the National University of Colombia – Palmira campus. She completed her professional internship in Cenicaña and joined the agronomy program as a professional in 2019, joining the area of ​​plant physiology. Currently, she develops and collaborates in agricultural research, specifically in the study of abiotic stress and ecophysiology, with the aim of developing effective and sustainable agronomic practices in the face of climate variability in sugarcane cultivation.

López Murcia, M. Á.

Agronomist with a master's degree in agricultural sciences – crop physiology and a doctorate in agronomy with emphasis on crop physiology and improvement. He graduated in 2006 from the National University of Colombia – Bogotá headquarters. There he carried out his graduate work in microbial biostimulation in pea cultivation. Later he enrolled in a master's degree in crop physiology where he focused on the mathematical modeling of the growth of ornamental crops, and in 2019 he obtained a doctorate from Purdue University in Indiana – United States. During his PhD, he focused on the identification of molecular markers associated with physiological parameters related to the photosynthesis of soybean crops. He has been a professor of fertilization, plant and crop physiology at the National University of Colombia, Bogotá, and at the University of Environmental and Applied Sciences (UDCA). He was linked to the Colombian sugarcane research center (Cenicaña) between 2012 and 2016 where he worked as a Physiologist, focused on researching the formation of components of the productivity of sugarcane cultivation and its relationship with photosynthesis. Subsequently, he held the position of director of the Cenicaña agronomy program, where he led the agronomy team to contribute through participatory, basic and applied research, to increasing the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agroindustry of the cane.

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