Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Truncation of grain filling in wheat (Triticum aestivum) triggered by brief heat stress during early grain filling: association with senescence responses and reductions in stem reserves

Hamid Shirdelmoghanloo A , Daniel Cozzolino B C , Iman Lohraseb A and Nicholas C. Collins A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, School of Agriculture Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, PMB1 Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

B School of Agriculture Food and Wine, the University of Adelaide, PMB1 Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

C Present address: School of Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton North Campus, Bruce Highway, Qld 4701, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: nick.collins@acpfg.com.au

Functional Plant Biology 43(10) 919-930 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP15384
Submitted: 22 December 2015  Accepted: 5 May 2016   Published: 1 August 2016

Abstract

Short heat waves during grain filling can reduce grain size and consequently yield in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Grain weight responses to heat represent the net outcome of reduced photosynthesis, increased mobilisation of stem reserves (water-soluble carbohydrates, WSC) and accelerated senescence in the grain. To compare their relative roles in grain weight responses under heat, these characteristics were monitored in nine wheat genotypes subjected to a brief heat stress at early grain filling (37°C maximum for 3 days at 10 days after anthesis). Compared with the five tolerant varieties, the four susceptible varieties showed greater heat-triggered reductions in final grain weight, grain filling duration, flag leaf chla and chlb content, stem WSC and PSII functionality (Fv/Fm). Despite the potential for reductions in sugar supply to the developing grains, there was little effect of heat on grain filling rate, suggesting that grain size effects of heat may have instead been driven by premature senescence in the grain. Extreme senescence responses potentially masked stem WSC contributions to grain weight stability. Based on these findings, limiting heat-triggered senescence in the grain may provide an appropriate focus for improving heat tolerance in wheat.

Additional keywords: grain weight, photosynthesis, stay-green, temperature, water-soluble carbohydrate.


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