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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 46 No. 3, p. 1266-1276
     
    Received: July 11, 2005
    Published: May, 2006


    * Corresponding author(s): kdandrea@agro.uba.ar
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doi:10.2135/cropsci2005.07-0195

Genotypic Variability in Morphological and Physiological Traits among Maize Inbred Lines—Nitrogen Responses

  1. K. E. D'Andrea *a,
  2. M. E. Oteguia,
  3. A. G. Cirilob and
  4. G. Eyhérabideb
  1. a Dpto. de Producción Vegetal, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires. Av. San Martín 4453 (C1417DSE), Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
    b Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Pergamino, Buenos Aires, Pergamino

Abstract

A better understanding of the physiological processes related to nitrogen (N) metabolism in maize (Zea mays L.) inbred lines is important for increasing the efficiency of breeding programs targeting low-N environments. This study analyzed the response to contrasting N availability of morphophysiological traits in a set of 12 maize inbred lines, from different origins (USA and Argentina) and breeding eras (from 1952 onward). Traits included in the analysis were related to canopy structure, light interception, shoot biomass production, and grain yield. Our results indicate that (i) the start of N effects on canopy size was more related to a threshold crop leaf area index (about 2) than to a given leaf stage (i.e., V n ), (ii) the light attenuation coefficient value was not affected by N availability, (iii) variations in kernel number per plant were explained by prolificacy (r 2 = 0.59), and (iv) differences in harvest index were related to kernel number per plant (r 2 = 0.77). The most important finding of our research was the detection in some inbreds of a particular response of kernel number to plant growth rate around silking, different from the general model established for hybrids. In these inbreds an additional effect of N availability was detected as reduced kernel set at a given plant growth rate under N deficient conditions (i.e., reduced reproductive efficiency). This result highlights the need of more research on reproductive sink development in this type of germplasm.

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Copyright © 2006. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America