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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 24 No. 2, p. 285-288
    Received: Feb 21, 1983

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Effect of Temperature and Sucrose Availability on Kernel Black Layer Development in Maize1

  1. J. J. Afuakwa,
  2. R. Kent Crookston and
  3. R. J. Jones2



The objective of this study was to investigate the cause of black layer formation in maize (Zea mays L.). Four hybrids were field-grown and defoliated at different stages of kernel maturity to determine the effect of assimilate supply reduction on black layer formation. Kernels from a fifth hybrid were cultured in vitro to determine the effect of temperature and scurose availability on black layer formation. Black layer formed in maize kernels independent of any specific environmental condition, and was not coincident with any particular physical state of the kernel. Black layer was observed in kernels ranging from 23 to 76% moisture. Kernel size at black layer ranged from 45 to 312 mg. Time from silking to black layer formation ranged from 29 to 78 days. Accumulated heat units from pollination to black layer ranged from 532 to 937. It appeared that a reduction in, or termination of, the supply of sucrose to the kernel induced black layer formation in maize. Premature formation of black layer following cold temperatures, drought or defoliation might all be explained on the basis of reduced sucrose availability.

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