Differences in developmental plasticity and growth rate among drought-resistant and susceptible cultivars of durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum)
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B. Simane, John M. Peacock, Paul C. Struik. (1/12/1993). Differences in developmental plasticity and growth rate among drought-resistant and susceptible cultivars of durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum). Plant and Soil, 157, pp. 155-166.
Understanding how growth and development of durum wheat cultivars respond to drought could provide a basis to develop crop improvement programmes in drought-affected tropical and subtropical countries. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to study the responses of five durum wheat cultivars to moisture stress at different developmental phases. Phenology, total dry matter (TDM), relative growth rate (RGR), leaf area ratio (LAR), net assimilation rate (NAR), leaf weight ratio (LWR), specific leaf area (SLA) and shoot:root ratio were compared. Pre-anthesis moisture stress delayed phenological development, whereas post-anthesis moisture stress accelerated it. TDM accumulation rate was different between drought-resistant and susceptible cultivars. RGR and its components changed with age and moisture availability. Drought-resistant cultivars had a high RGR in favourable periods of the growing season and a low RGR during moisture stress. In contrast, the drought-susceptible cultivar (Po) showed an opposite trend. LAR explained the differences in RGR (r=0.788) best, whereas the relationship between NAR and RGR was not significant. Even though both LWR and SLA were important factors determining the potential growth rate, LWR was of major importance to describe cultivar differences in LAR, and consequently in RGR. The drought-resistant cultivars Omrabi-5 and Boohai showed vigorous root development and/or a low shoot:root ratio. It is concluded that biomass allocation is the major factor explaining variation in RGR among the investigated durum wheat cultivars.
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