Relationships between early vigour, grain yield, leaf structure and stable isotope composition in field grown barley
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Jordi Bort, Jose Luis Araus, Hani Hazzam, Stefania Grando, Salvatore Ceccarelli. (30/4/1999). Relationships between early vigour, grain yield, leaf structure and stable isotope composition in field grown barley. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 36 (12), pp. 889-897.
Fast growth and early development in barley are used in breeding programmes to improve the water use efficiency and transpiration efficiency of this crop in Mediterranean conditions. Here, we examine the use of several simple traits based on the structure and stable isotope composition of seedling leaves to assess differences in early vigour, phenology and grain yield, and also the interaction with low temperatures in barley. A set of 260 F-8 lines of two-row barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) derived from the cross of Tadmor and WI 2291 were cultivated in two locations in northwest Syria. Total chlorophyll content on an area basis (SPAD) and specific leaf dry weight (SLDW) were measured in recently fully expanded intact leaves of seedlings. Total leaf area and total dry weight per seedling were evaluated in the same seedlings. The stable isotope compositions of carbon and nitrogen (delta(13)C and delta(15)N, respectively) were analyzed in the same leaves on a subset of 75 genotypes. Number of days from planting to heading and grain yield were recorded at both sites. The grain yield measured at both locations was positively correlated with the SPAD value of seedlings, but showed no relationship with SLDW. Days to heading was negatively correlated with SPAD values. Regarding early vigour, a negative relationship between the SLDW and the total leaf area of seedlings was observed. However, no relationship between the delta(13)C of seedlings and early vigour was observed, except when only the genotypes most resistant to low temperatures (i.e. showing the highest SPAD values) were considered. This subset of genotypes showed negative relationships between delta(13)C and either total leaf area or total dry weight. In addition, delta(15)N was negatively correlated with SPAD only within the high-SPAD genotypes. This suggests that within the genotypes resistant to low temperatures, those with higher chlorophyll content assimilate more nitrogen from nitrate.
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