Subsoil Root Growth of Field Grown Spring Wheat Genotypes (Triticum Aestivum L.) Differing in Nitrogen use Efficiency Parameters

Noulas, C.; Liedgens, M.; Stamp, P.; Alexiou, I.; Herrera, J.M.

Journal of Plant Nutrition 33(13): 1887-1903

2010


ISSN/ISBN: 0190-4167
DOI: 10.1080/01904167.2010.512049
Accession: 066235893

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Abstract
In a two-year (1999-2000) field experiment four Swiss spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genotypes (cvs. 'Albis', 'Toronit' and 'Pizol' and an experimental line 'L94491') were compared for genotypic differences in the root parameters that determine uptake potential and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE):root surface area (RSA) and its components, root length density (RLD) and the diameter of the roots. The genotypes were grown under no (N0) and under ample fertilizer nitrogen (N) [ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3); N1; 250 kg N ha-1] supply. Root samples were taken from all the genotypes at anthesis from the subsoil (30-60 cm). Genotypic effects on RLD and RSA were evident only in 2000 and large amounts of N fertilizer usually diminished root growth. Adequate soil moisture in 1999 may have favored the establishment of the root system of all the genotypes before anthesis. Parameters of NUE for each genotype were also determined at anthesis and at physiological maturity. 'Albis' the least efficient cv. in recovering fertilizer N (ranged from 36.5 to 61.1%) with the lowest N uptake efficiency (0.47 to 0.79 kg kg-1) had the lowest RLD and RSA in both seasons. Among genotypes 'Toronit', a high-yielding cv., efficient in recovering fertilizer N, exhibited the higher NUE (22.4 to 29.3 kg kg-1) and tended to have the highest values of RLD and RSA. Nitrogen fertilization also led to an increase in the proportion of roots with diameters less than 300 m and decreased the proportion of roots with diameters of 300 to 700 m. These trends were more pronounced for cv. 'Pizol' in 1999 and for cv. 'Toronit' in 1999 and 2000. By anthesis in a humid temperate climate, there are no marked differences in the subsoil root growth of the examined genotypes. Some peculiarities on the root growth characteristics of the cultivars 'Albis' and 'Toronit' may partially explain their different NUE performance.