A Screening Protocol for Vegetative‐stage Tolerance to Phosphorus Deficiency in Upland Rice
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Phosphorus deficiency is a major soil-related constraint to upland rice (Oryza sativa L.) production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rice varieties adapted to low soil P and also respond well to added P fertilizer are needed. Simple and cost-effective screening protocols could help to identify varieties with superior growth at the vegetative stage. This would be particularly useful in weed-prone uplands where early vigor is an important trait. The objectives of this study were to (i) assess variation in aboveground biomass of 12 upland rice varieties, including the popular 'NERICA' varieties, with and without P supply using a double pot technique; (ii) examine if aboveground biomass measured using this technique can predict aboveground biomass at the vegetative stage under field conditions with and without P; and (iii) identify new donors for breeding for P deficiency tolerance. At 5 to 7 wk after sowing, aboveground biomass and root biomass were determined in pot and field experiments. In the pot experiment, there was significant varietal variation in aboveground biomass with and without P. Results from the pot experiment corresponded with varietal performance in the field experiments. 'Mugdo' generally produced the highest aboveground biomass with and without P across both experiments, followed by 'DJ123'. Aboveground biomass without P relative to the biomass with P was consistently low in 'Santhi Sufaid' across both experiments. The double pot technique offers a promising, effective, and reliable approach for screening for P deficiency tolerance and Mudgo can be used as donor for improving early growth under P-deficient soil conditions.
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