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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 59(4)

Developmental and physiological traits associated with high yield and stay-green phenotype in wheat

J. T. Christopher A E, A. M. Manschadi B, G. L. Hammer C, A. K. Borrell D

A Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Leslie Research Centre, PO Box 2282,Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.
B Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, 53113 Bonn, Germany.
C Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit, School of Crop, Land and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.
D Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Hermitage Research Station, MS 508,Warwick, Qld 4370, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: jack.christopher@dpi.qld.gov.au
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Water availability is a key limiting factor in wheat production in the northern grain belt of Australia. Varieties with improved adaptation to such conditions are actively sought. The CIMMYT wheat line SeriM82 has shown a significant yield advantage in multi-environment screening trials in this region. The objective of this study was to identify the physiological basis of the adaptive traits underpinning this advantage. Six detailed experiments were conducted to compare the growth, development, and yield of SeriM82 with that of the adapted cultivar, Hartog. The experiments were undertaken in field environments that represented the range of moisture availability conditions commonly encountered by winter crops grown on the deep Vertosol soils of this region. The yield of SeriM82 was 6–28% greater than that of Hartog, and SeriM82 exhibited a stay-green phenotype by maintaining green leaf area longer during the grain-filling period in all environments where yield was significantly greater than Hartog. However, where the availability of deep soil moisture was limited, SeriM82 failed to exhibit significantly greater yield or to express the stay-green phenotype. Thus, the stay-green phenotype was closely associated with the yield advantage of SeriM82. SeriM82 also exhibited higher mean grain mass than Hartog in all environments. It is suggested that small differences in water use before anthesis, or greater water extraction from depth after anthesis, could underlie the stay-green phenotype. The inability of SeriM82 to exhibit stay-green and higher yield where deep soil moisture was depleted indicates that extraction of deep soil moisture is important.

Keywords: drought adaptation, SeriM82.

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