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Crop Science Abstract -

Potential for Using Leaf Turgidity to Select Drought Tolerance in Cotton1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 25 No. 2, p. 294-299
    Received: Apr 18, 1984

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  1. J. E. Quisenberry,
  2. C. W. Wendt,
  3. J. D. Berlin and
  4. B. L. McMichael2



Variability in leaf turgidity has been observed among cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) strains grown under water deficit field conditions. Two photoperiodic (long-night) strains were identiffed as having extreme phenotypic expressions of leaf turgidity. Under water deficit conditions T25 retained turgid leaves, while T169 wilted severely. The objective of this research was to determine the potential utility of using the leaf turgidity trait to select germplasm with enhanced drought tolerance. Three types of studies were conducted on these two strains: (i) growth evaluations in wet and dry field conditions and in glass house pots, (ii) evaluations of physiological responses in wet and dry field conditions, and (iii) seed cotton yield evaluations in dry field conditions on germplasm that was introgressed with genes for the day-neutral flowering habit. Under irrigated field conditions, shoot biomass did not differ between T25 and T169, but the interaction between tests and entries was significant. Compared under water-deficit field conditions, the nonwilting T25 strain produced significantly more shoot biomass than did T169. In glass house studies, T25 produced more root and shoot biomass with significantly higher water-use efficiency than did T169. Physiological evaluations showed that under irrigated field conditions, T25 maintained higher leaf water potential, lower leaf conductance, and equal gross photosynthetic rates compared to T169. Under dry (rainout shelter) conditions, T25 always had higher water potential than did T169. At 70 to 80 days after planting (DAP), T25 had higher leaf conductance and photosynthetic rates than did T169. Seed cotton yield was higher for the T25 germplasm than for the T169 germplasm in either population or selected line comparisons. Observed variability in leaf turgidity of cotton under water-deficit field conditions may be useful in selecting germplasm with enhanced drought-tolerance.

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