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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 2, p. 217-218
    Received: May 5, 1976

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Evaluation of Root Characteristics in Grain Sorghum1

  1. Abd-Ellatif M. Nour and
  2. D. E. Weibel2



Breeding for drought resistance has been limited by the lack of a simple method of screening. Observations in the field cannot be made regularly, nor can the condition be repeated. A laboratory method of testing for drought resistance was needed. To investigate techniques, 10 cultivars of sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench, were planted in washed sand in plastic plots in a growth chamber. Five plants in each pot were fed a nutrient solution for 3 weeks. When they were harvested, wet root weight, root length, root volume, and root/shoot ratio were determined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the root characteristics among1 0 sorghum cultivars known to vary for drought resistance. Significant varietal differences for all characters were found. In general the most drought-resistant cultivars had heavier root weight, greater root volume, and higher root/shoot ratios. This technique shows promise for identifying drought-resistant lines, but it involved a considerable amount of time and labor. Root weight would probably be the most indicative and easiest characteristic to determine.

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