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Anatomical characteristics of three inbred lines and two maize zea mays synthetics recurrently selected for high and low stalk crushing strength

Anatomical characteristics of three inbred lines and two maize zea mays synthetics recurrently selected for high and low stalk crushing strength

Crop Science 26(3): 482-488

Despite progress in improving maize (Zea mays L.) stalk strength stalk lodging is still a problem. Identification of traits associated with stalk strength will aid breeders in selecting for lodging resistance and improving maize stalk quality. Anatomical features of stalks of two Missouri synthetic populations (MoSQA and MoSQB) were examined to identify those traits more closely associated with stalk strength. Cycles (C6 low = six cycle of selection for low crushing strength, C6 high = sixth cycle of selection for high crushing strength, and C10 high = 10th cycle of selection for high crushing strength) and the original population (C0) of each synthetic were grown at 37,064 and 74,129 plants ha-1 at Newark and Geogetown, DE [Delaware, USA]. Stalks of MoSQA had significantly more vascular bundles (C6 low = 338.7, C0 = 375.9 C6 high = 362.7 and C10 high = 368.2) than stalks of MoSQB (C6 low = 281.2, C0 = 304.9, C6 high = 304.4, and C10 high = 317.9). Rind vascular bundles of MoSQA stalks were composed of bundle-sheaths with significantly larger proportional areas (C6 low = 82.54%, C0 = 80.51%, C6 high = 84.05%, and C10 high = 84.34%) than the rind vascular bundle-sheaths of MoSQB stalks (C6 low = 79.79%, C0 = 81.37%, C6 high = 80.81%, and C10 high = 80.79%). Stalks of MoSQB had a significantly larger proportion of hypodermal cell-wall area (C6 low = 76.11%, C0 = 81.57%, C6 high = 82.33%, and C10 high = 87.42%) compared to stalks of MoSQA (C6 low = 64.32%, C0 = 75.29%, C6 high = 72.04%, and C10 high = 75.10%). Anatomical differences between synthetics suggest that MoSQA andand MoSQB maintain stalk strength through different structural compositions. Hypodermal cell-wall area and rind-parenchyma interlumen thickness significantly increased with selection for high crushing strength for both synthetics. The increase in rind-parenchyma interlumen thickness with selection for high crushing strength is an important consequence of selection given the large area of the maize stalk rind composed of parenchyma cells. Examination of stalk cross-sections of greenhouse-grown strong, intermediate-strong, and weak-stalk inbred lines (DE811, Wf9, and L317, respectively) revealed anatomical rind component differences. Ear-leaf midrib anatomy reflects rind differences and midribs show promise as a nondestructive selection screen for developing inbred lines and hybrids with stronger stalks to reduce lodging.

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