Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 5 No. 1 1993 June, p. 1-11 GOH K J*; SAMSUDIN Amit*
Received: 4 January 1992
Studies were conducted on a simple technique to quantify oil palm roots using the soil core method. The modifications to existing technique involved the use of 5% sodium hexametaphosphate (Calgon), 0.5 mm mesh sieves and a microwave oven.
A 5% solution of Calgon was found to have no significant effect on the length or diameter of oil palm roots. It was effective in dispersing Rengam series soil (Typic Paleudult). After 12 hours of soaking in 5% Calgon solution, only 8% of the soil aggregates remained larger than 0.5 mm in diameter. This reduced the time of elutriation to about 10 minutes. Loss of tertiary root during the washing process was 3%. None of the secondary or primary roots passed through the 0.5 mm sieve owing to their larger diameters. Drying did not significantly change the length or diameter of the secondary roots or the length of the tertiary roots. However, the diameter of the tertiary roots was significantly reduced. The diameter (Y) of the fresh tertiary root could be estimated from the diameter (X) of the dry root by the linear equation;
Y = – 0.31 + 1.71 X (r2 = 0.94).
The oil palm roots could be dried in 20 minutes instead of 24 hours by using a microwave oven at low to medium power setting. The sizes of roots did not influence the time of drying when a microwave oven was used.
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* Applied Agricultural Research Sdn Bhd,
Beg Berkunci 212,
Sg Buloh Post Office,
47000 Sg Buloh,