Germplasm evaluation of heat tolerance in bread wheat in Tel Hadya, Syria

Emeka C. Okechukwu1*, Christain U. Agbo1, Michael I. Uguru1, and Francis C. Ogbonnaya2
Breeding for heat tolerance in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a serious global concern due to the increasing threats of high temperature. Thus, 189 wheat genotypes coded from 1 to 189 were evaluated for heat tolerance in normal and late seasons in the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), Tel Hadya, Syria, from 2010 to 2012. The experiments were laid out in alpha lattice designs with two replicates. Data collected on the grain yield, days to heading and maturity, grain filling duration and plant height were subjected to restricted maximum likelihood (REML) analysis for generation of the best linear unbiased estimates (BLUEs). Very highly significant effects (p ≤ 0.001) of genotype, season, and genotype by season interaction on grain yield and other traits were obtained. The grain yield and other traits performance of the wheat genotypes were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher in the normal season than in the late season. Genotype 148 was among the 30 top grain yielding genotypes in all the environments, while genotypes 172 and 124 were among the top yielding genotypes in all the environments except in late season 2. The relative heat tolerance of the genotypes ranged from -33.69% to -77.95% in late season 1 vs. normal season 1 and -65.28% to -95.83% in late season 2 vs. normal season 2. The high variability obtained in the germplasm underlies sufficient genetic variability for improving heat tolerance in bread wheat.
Keywords: Bread wheat germplasm, evaluation, grain yield, heat tolerance, Triticum aestivum
1University of Nigeria, Department of Crop Science, 410001, Nsukka, Nigeria. *Corresponding author (emeka.okechukwu@unn.edu.ng).
2Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), P.O. Box 5367, Kingston, Australia