Organic farming has been on an upward trend in recent years. However, the manures used like broiler litter have variable nutrient content, making it important to establish optimal application rate, for maximum crop yield and quality. Additionally, some states like Alabama restricts the amount of broiler litter to control excessive nutrients accumulation which can lead to surface and ground water contamination. The current study evaluated the effect of broiler litter at rates 0, 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 t ha(-1) (treatments T0, T0.5, T1, T2, and T3), on the nutritional and physical properties of Beauregard sweet potato. Analyses were performed to determine moisture, ash, fiber, vitamin C, and β-carotene contents using oven, muffler furnace, dye, and spectrophotometric methods; texture; and color using compressive strength and L, a, b system, respectively. Ash content of the samples ranged from 0.9% to 1.4% with a very strong positive linear correlation (r = 0.9) to the broiler litter rate. However, vitamin C had a quadratic relationship with the broiler litter rate with a peaking at T0.5 (15.5 mg/100 g). The yellow color (b-value) also had a strong linear relationship with the broiler litter rate (r = 0.86). However, the other measures showed moderate, weak, or negligible correlations to the broiler litter level. T0.5 had the highest β-carotene (262.0 μg/g), dry matter contents and had the most firm (0.040 kN) sweet potatoes with the deepest orange color (L = 60.7). Based on the study's findings, 0.5 t ha(-1) appeared to be appropriate level of broiler litter, which is consistent with Alabama's law and is also advantageous in terms of low cost of farming practices and water pollution reduction.
Keywords: Beauregard sweet potato; broiler litter; manure application rate; nutrition.