Temperature effects on radiation use and biomass partitioning in diverse tropical maize cultivars uri icon


  • Adaptation groups differed greatly in grain and total biomass production across environments, and large differences were observed in harvest index, supporting the hypothesis that temperature has important effects of dry matter partitioning to grain. All yield components were affected. The number of ears per plant, grains per ear and mass per kernel of highland-adapted cultivars declined dramatically when average site temperature exceeded about 17 degrees C, while those of lowland-adapted cultivars were adversely affected by low temperatures. Carbon exchange rates differed among individual cultivars in all environments where that trait was measured, but significant differences were observed among adaptation groups only in the wannest environment, where rates for the highland cultivars were about 15% less than for the others. No consistent differences were observed among adaptation groups for variable chlorophyll fluorescence. Adaptation groups differed significantly in the proportion of incident radiation intercepted by the crop near flowering in three of four environments. This was due to both reduced leaf number and reduced area of individual leaves, but those differences were not proportional to the differences in grain yield among groups. Because indicators of potential assimilate flux to the ear near flowering used in this study (i.e. radiation interception and utilization) could not be consistently related to differences in harvest index among adaptation groups, direct effects of temperature on dry matter partitioning to the ear must be considered in future efforts to relate maize grain yield to temperature. (C) Elsevier science B.V.
  • Temperature can influence crop yields through effects on radiation interception, radiation use, yield component elaboration and/or carbohydrate partitioning. In an attempt to identify causes of yield variation, this study examined these processes in a diverse group of maize cultivars (Zea mays L.). The cultivars were adapted to zones characterized by different temperatures, and were grown in six environments whose mean temperature during the growing season ranged from 13 degrees C to 28 degrees C.

publication date

  • 1997
  • 1997