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Crop Science Abstract -

Root Growth of Wheat Genotypes in Hydroponic Culture and in the Greenhouse under Different Soil Moisture Regimes


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 33 No. 2, p. 283-286
    Received: Mar 23, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. M.A.R. Mian,
  2. Emerson D. Nafziger ,
  3. Frederic L. Kolb and
  4. Robert H. Teyker
  1. Dep. of Agronomuy, Univ. of Illinois, 1102 S. Goodwin, Urbana, IL 61801



Root characteristics of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genotypes are believed to be important in tolerance to drought and flooding, yet neither the extent of differences in root size among modern soft red wheat cultivars nor the degree of association between root size and drought or flooding tolerance is known. This study was conducted to see whether genotypes differ in root size, and to see if root size is associated with tolerance to flooded soil and to drought during early vegetative growth. We found differences in root fresh weight (RFW), shoot fresh weight (SFW), number of roots longer than 40 cm (NR), longest root length (LRL) and total root length (TRL) of 40 winter wheat genotypes grown in hydroponic culture for 4 wk. Each of these parameters was positively correlated with all others. Twelve genotypes with different root sizes selected from these 40 were grown in a greenhouse soil experiment for 3 wk, after which soil moisture treatments of control, flooding, and drought were imposed for a period of 21 d. Flooding did not affect SFW and number of tillers (NT), but decreased RFW. Drought drastically decreased all three parameters. The genotype × moisture treatment interactions for SFW, RFW, and NT were significant. Root and shoot growth of these genotypes in hydroponic culture were correlated to their root and shoot growth under both control and flooded conditions, but not under drought. Thus, it appears that the expression of genotypic root growth potential may be influenced by the availability of soil moisture, and that selection of wheat seedlings for vigorous growth in hydroponic culture will select for vigorous early growth in soil with adequate or excess moisture, but not under severe drought.

Funded in part by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and by the Illinois Agric. Exp. Stn.

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