Dry matter and water dynamics of wheat grains in response to source reduction at different phases of grain filling

Claudia I. Harcha1*, and Daniel F. Calderini1
Agreement that wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is scarcely limited by source of assimilates during grain fill has not been confirmed when source was drastically decrease in high yield potential environments. Dry matter (DM) and water dynamics of growing grains being possibly able to explain grain weight (GW) responses to source-sink ratios (S-Sratios) in these conditions. Objectives were to evaluate response of GW to S-Sratios at different phases during grain fill, and relationship between DM and grain water content in response to different S-Sratios. Wheat was sown at field conditions during 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 growing seasons. Four S-Sratios were assessed: Control without S-Sratios modification (C), S-Sratios from anthesis (At) +12 d to physiological maturity (ShAll), S-Sratios from At +12 d to first half of grain fill (Sh1st) and from second half of grain fill to maturity (Sh2nd). Thousand grain weight (TGW), GW at individual positions (IGW), stabilized grain water content (SGWC) and grain filling rate (GFR) were measured. TGW sensitivity to S-Sratios varied according to length of treatment and its timing, i.e. ShAll, Sh1st, and Sh2nd treatments reduced TGW by 48%, 26%, and 22%, respectively. These reductions were little higher when IGW were evaluated in ShAll (i.e. 53%) and Sh1st (i.e. 33%) treatments and lower in Sh2nd (i.e. 12%). SGWC sensitivity was lower than that of IGW across S-Sratios (e.g. ShAll 27%, Sh1st 22%, and Sh2nd 5%). However, close association between IGW and SGWC (R2 = 0.78, p ≤ 0.001) and between GFR and SGWC (R2 = 0.98, p ≤ 0.001) was found regardless of S-Sratios and seasons.
Keywords: Grain filling, grain water content, grain weight, shading, source-sink ratio, Triticum aestivum.
1Universidad Austral de Chile, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Campus Isla Teja, Valdivia, Chile. *Corresponding author (claudiaharcha@gmail.com).