Use of water extraction variability to screen for sunflower genotypes well adapted to soil water limitation. uri icon

abstract

  • In conditions of water deficit, plant yield depends mostly on the ability of the plant to explore soil profile and its water uptake capacity per unit volume of soil. In this study, the value of soil water extraction properties for use in sunflower breeding was evaluated. Five experiments were carried out in pots, in greenhouses, from 2005 to 2009, in Montpellier, France. Elite sunflower cultivars and experimental hybrids obtained from a factorial cross between five female and five male inbred lines were grown. The soil water extraction performance of the plants was characterised by the soil water content at minimal stomatal conductance (SWCgs (= 0)) and the index of water extraction (IEgen), which was calculated as the relative value of SWCgs (= 0) to the performance of the cultivar NKMelody. Heritability (H-2) was estimated for the experimental hybrids. Phenotypic variability of the SWCgs (= 0) was observed with a significant effect of the environment and the genotype. The latest released cultivars were observed as the best performing one in water extraction with an IEgen under 0.85. This trait was found to be suitable for use in comparisons of the soil water extraction performances of different genotypes. The high H-2 value for SWCgs = 0 (0.77 and 0.81) and the significant correlation (r(2) = 0.70, P < 0.001) between the values obtained for the experimental hybrids and the mean values of the general combining ability (GCA) for the parental lines showed that this trait is heritable and could be used in plant breeding programs. Phenotyping methods and the usefulness of this trait in crop modelling are discussed.

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012
  • 2012