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Dissecting and modelling the comparative adaptation to water limitation of sorghum and maize: role of transpiration efficiency, transpiration rate and height

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van Oosterom, E. J., Kulathunga, M. R. D. L., Deifel, K. S., McLean, G. B., Barrasso, C., Wu, A., Messina, C. and Hammer, G. L. (2021) Dissecting and modelling the comparative adaptation to water limitation of sorghum and maize: role of transpiration efficiency, transpiration rate and height. in silico Plants, 3 (1). ISSN 2517-5025

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Article Link(s): https://doi.org/10.1093/insilicoplants/diaa012

Abstract

Maize is considered less drought-tolerant than sorghum, but sorghum is commonly grown as a short triple dwarf (3dwarf) type, so difference in plant height confounds the species comparison. The objectives of this study were to experimentally determine effects of species and plant height differences on transpiration efficiency (TE) and transpiration rate per unit green leaf area (TGLA) and use findings to explain input parameters in a simulation study on the comparative adaptation of 3dwarf sorghum and maize in environments with contrasting water availability. Maize, tall double dwarf (2dwarf) and short 3dwarf sorghum genotypes were grown in two lysimeter experiments in 2011 in SE Queensland, Australia. Each plant was harvested after anthesis and total transpiration, shoot and root dry mass were measured to estimate TE. Daily TGLA was used to compare transpiration rates. Species and height had limited effect on TE, but significantly affected TGLA. This was associated with differences in biomass allocation. The similar TE but higher TGLA in maize compared with 3dwarf sorghum meant it potentially produces more biomass, consistent with published differences in biomass accumulation and radiation use efficiency (RUE). The simulation study, which used similar TE for maize and 3dwarf sorghum, but captured differences in TGLA through differences in RUE, predicted crossover interactions for grain yield between species and total water use. The greater TGLA of maize decreased grain yield in water-limited environments, but increased yields in well-watered situations. Results highlight that similarity in TE and differences in TGLA can influence comparative adaptation to water limitation.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Plant culture > Field crops
Plant culture > Field crops > Corn. Maize
Plant culture > Field crops > Sorghum
Deposited On:01 Jul 2021 02:24
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:46

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