Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Growth and physiological responses of six barley genotypes to waterlogging and subsequent recovery

Jiayin Pang A , Meixue Zhou A , Neville Mendham A and Sergey Shabala A B

A School of Agricultural Science and Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 54, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.

B Corresponding author; email:

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 55(8) 895-906
Submitted: 12 May 2003  Accepted: 7 June 2004   Published: 31 August 2004


In this study, the growth response of 6 barley genotypes of different origin (3 from China, 2 from Australia, 1 from Japan) to waterlogging and subsequent recovery was evaluated in 2 different soil types, an artificial potting mix and a Vertosol. A range of physiological measurements was assessed, to develop a method to aid selection for waterlogging tolerance. Plants at the 3 or 4 expanded leaf stages were subjected to waterlogging for 3 weeks followed by 2 weeks of recovery. Both shoot and root growth was negatively affected by waterlogging. As waterlogging stress developed, chlorophyll content, CO2 assimilation rate, and maximal quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) decreased significantly. The adverse effect of waterlogging was most severe for genotype Naso Nijo, intermediate for ZP, Gairdner, DYSYH, and Franklin, and least for TX9425 in both trials. Studies of the root anatomy suggested that such a contrasting behaviour may be partially due to a significant difference in the pattern of aerenchyma formation in barley roots. The adverse effects in stressed plants were alleviated after 2 weeks of drainage for all genotypes. In general, TX9425 continued to grow better than other varieties, whereas recovery of Naso Nijo was extremely slow. It is suggested that screening a small number of lines for waterlogging tolerance could be facilitated by selecting genotypes with least pronounced reduction of photosynthetic rate or total chlorophyll content, and for a larger number of lines, chlorophyll fluorescence is the most appropriate tool.

Additional keywords: chlorophyll content, photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence, aerenchyma.


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