Hybrid variation for root system efficiency in maize: potential links to drought adaptation

van Oosterom, Erik J., Yang, Zongjian, Zhang, Fenglu, Deifel, Kurt S., Cooper, Mark, Carlos D. Messina and Hammer, Graeme L. (2016) Hybrid variation for root system efficiency in maize: potential links to drought adaptation. Functional Plant Biology, 43 6: 502-511. doi:10.1071/FP15308

Author van Oosterom, Erik J.
Yang, Zongjian
Zhang, Fenglu
Deifel, Kurt S.
Cooper, Mark
Carlos D. Messina
Hammer, Graeme L.
Title Hybrid variation for root system efficiency in maize: potential links to drought adaptation
Journal name Functional Plant Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1445-4408
Publication date 2016-04-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/FP15308
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 43
Issue 6
Start page 502
End page 511
Total pages 10
Place of publication Clayton, VIC, Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Water availability can limit maize (Zea mays L.) yields, and root traits may enhance drought adaptation if they can moderate temporal patterns of soil water extraction to favour grain filling. Root system efficiency (RSE), defined as transpiration per unit leaf area per unit of root mass, represents the functional mass allocation to roots to support water capture relative to the allocation to aerial mass that determines water demand. The aims of this study were to identify the presence of hybrid variation for RSE in maize, determine plant attributes that drive these differences and illustrate possible links of RSE to drought adaptation via associations with water extraction patterns. Individual plants for a range of maize hybrids were grown in large containers in shadehouses in Queensland, Australia. Leaf area, shoot and root mass, transpiration, root distribution and soil water were measured in all or selected experiments. Significant hybrid differences in RSE existed. High RSE was associated with reduced dry mass allocation to roots and more efficient water capture per unit of root mass. It was also weakly negatively associated with total plant dry mass, reducing preanthesis water use. This could increase grain yield under drought. RSE provides a conceptual physiological framework to identify traits for high-throughput phenotyping in breeding programs.
Keyword Partitioning
Root distribution
Transpiration efficiency
Water uptake
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
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Created: Mon, 20 Jun 2016, 12:37:14 EST by Janelle Low on behalf of Qld Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation