Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

Effects of Drought and High Temperature on Grain Growth in Wheat

ME Nicolas, RM Gleadow and MJ Dalling

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 11(6) 553 - 566
Published: 1984


The effects of two levels of temperature and of water supply on grain development of wheat (cv. Warigal) were studied by imposing treatments during the early or late period of cell division. High temperature (28°C day/20°C night) accelerated development of the grain. Dry matter accumulation and cell division proceeded at a higher rate but had a shorter duration in the high temperature treatments. Maximum cell number, final cell size and the number of large starch granules per cell were not significantly reduced by high temperature. Drought and drought × high temperature reduced the storage capacity of the grain, with a decrease in number of cells and starch granules in the endosperm. Cell size was also reduced when treatments were imposed late during cell division. Duration of dry matter accumulation and cell division was reduced in the drought and drought × high temperature treatments. The combined effects of drought and high temperature were much more severe than those of each separate treatment. The amount of sucrose per cell was similar in all treatments. It appears unlikely that the supply of sucrose to the endosperm cells is the main limiting factor of dry matter accumulation in both drought and high temperature treatments.

© CSIRO 1984

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