Effects of elevated air temperature on physiological characteristics of flag leaves and grain yield in rice

Qi-Hua Liu1, Xiu Wu1, Tian Li2, Jia-Qing Ma1*, Xue-Biao Zhou1
As an indispensable environment element for crop growth, air temperature has brought challenge for the sustainable development of rice (Oryza sativa L.) production. Elevated air temperature led to great loss in rice grain yield in many districts suffering from heat stress due to the greenhouse effect worldwide, which has received more and more attention from researchers. A field experiment was conducted to investigate impacts of high air temperature (HAT) after rice heading stage on dynamics of SPAD values, soluble sugar, soluble protein, and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents of flag leaves, and grain yield attributes. The results showed that HAT significantly reduced SPAD values, soluble sugar and protein contents, seed-setting rate, number of filled grains per panicles, 1000-grain weight, and grain yield, while increased MDA content. There exists strong correlation between each physiological parameter and days from heading stage to maturity, which can be simulated by quadratic curve equation or linear regression equation. Under HAT, the enhanced MDA content and decreased soluble sugar content demonstrated the damage of membrane structure and photosynthesis function of rice flag leaves, which was partially attributed to the reduced SPAD value and soluble protein content. In the present experiment, rice seed-setting rate was more vulnerable to HAT than grain weight. The disturbance of physiological metabolism in flag leaves was a fundamental reason for the reduction of rice grain yield under HAT.
Keywords: Physiological parameters, dynamics, yield attributes, Oryza sativa
1Rice Research Institute, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Jinan, Shandong 250100, China. Corresponding author (lqhsds@163.com).
2College of Agronomy, Sichuan Agricultural University, Yaan, Sichuan 625014, China.