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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Nonstructural Carbohydrate Utilization by Wheat Shaded during Grain Growth


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 85 No. 4, p. 844-849
    Received: Aug 3, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. J. R. Kiniry 
  1. USDA-ARS, Grassland, Soil and Water Res. Lab., 808 E. Blackland Rd., Temple, TX 76502



Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is commonly grown in dryland conditions, where environmental stress during grain filling can increase the dependency on stored assimilate. The objective of this study was to quantify the loss of total nonstructural carbohydrates (TNC) from wheat leaves and stems and the increase in seed dry mass when severe shading stress occurred after anthesis. Beginning 10 to 11 d after anthesis, severe shading was imposed on ‘Mit’ wheat in the field at Temple, TX, in 1991 and 1992. During shading, plants with spikes had reductions in stem dry mass of 290 g kg−1 in 1991 and 140 g kg−1 in 1992. Leaf dry mass decreased 240 g kg−1 in 1991 and increased 10 g kg−1 in 1992. Fructan and sucrose comprised the largest proportion of the storage carbohydrate reduction in stems and leaves. Starch in stems and leaves was not remobilized during shading. Estimates of maintenance coefficient were 4.3 mg carbohydrate g−1 dry mass d−1 in 1991 and 1.8 in 1992. Maintenance respiration consumed 68% of the TNC present at the start of shading in 1991 and 18% in 1992. There was 0.68 g of grain produced per gram of assimilate lost from leaves, stems, and the nongrain portions of spikes in 1991 and 0.78 in 1992. When estimated costs of maintenance respiration were removed, 0.82 and 0.93 g of grain was produced per gram of assimilate that disappeared. Stored carbohydrate represented an important buffer for yield production when stress occurred during grain filling.

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