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

Effect of Timing of Heat Stress During Grain Filling on Two Wheat Varieties Differing in Heat Tolerance. I. Grain Growth

PJ Stone and ME Nicolas

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 22(6) 927 - 934
Published: 1995


Short periods of very high temperature (> 35ºC) are common in many of the world's wheat growing areas and can be a significant factor in reducing yield and quality of wheat. This study was designed to determine the stage at which grain growth is most sensitive to a short period of high temperature and to examine whether varietal differences in heat tolerance are expressed throughout the whole grain-filling period. Two varieties of wheat differing in heat tolerance (cvv. Egret and Oxley) were exposed to a short (5 days) period of very high temperature (40ºC max. for 6 h each day) at 5-day intervals throughout grain filling, starting from 15 days after anthesis (DAA) and concluding at 50 DAA. Responses of grain dry matter accumulation and water content to high temperature were monitored throughout grain filling, and the results compared with controls maintained at 21/16ºC day/night. Varietal differences in heat tolerance were expressed throughout the grain-filling period. Mature individual kernel mass was most sensitive to heat stress applied early in grain filling and became progressively less sensitive throughout grain filling, for both varieties. Reductions in mature kernel mass resulted primarily from reductions in duration rather than rate of grain filling.

© CSIRO 1995

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