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The relationship between vertical root-pulling resistance and nitrogen uptake and utilization in maize breeding lines

The relationship between vertical root-pulling resistance and nitrogen uptake and utilization in maize breeding lines

Maydica 47(2): 135-140

ISSN/ISBN: 0025-6153

Poor soil fertility and in particular low nitrogen level is a major constraint to maize production in the West African S savanna. The development of maize cultivars with improved rooting system more efficient in absorbing as much nitrogen as possible from the soil and to give optimum yields even at low N levels is therefore desirable. However, direct measurement of root characteristics for rapid selection of maize lines having tolerance to low N stress is difficult. Vertical root-pulling resistance has been shown to relate well to the rooting characteristics of the maize plant and could he in important secondary and easy-to-measure trait for improving the efficiency of selection of maize lilies for tolerance to low-N stress. Results of evaluations in 2000 and 2001 to determine the root-pulling resistance, yield, N-uptake and N-use efficiency of 18 S-1 lines derived from a low-N tolerant maize population mid 2 inbred lines revealed significant differences in vertical root-pulling resistance, N-uptake, N-use efficiency and grain yield. Root-pulling resistance was positively, correlated with N-uptake (r = 0.68) and grain yield (r = 0.71). However, some S-1 lines with high grain yield also had low root-pulling resistance. Factors, such as high number of ears per plant and high N-utilization efficiency, accounted for the yield increases. In view of the magnitude of the variation between S-1 lines in root-pulling resistance and the positive correlation of this trait with uptake. it could be used to select among maize breeding lilies with improved rooting system and high N Uptake efficiency. N-utilization efficiency in the breeding lines was independent of the magnitude of the vertical root-pulling resistance. The implication is that breeding lilies should be selected on the basis of both high vertical root-pulling resistance and utilization efficiency in the effort to breed genotypes with tolerance to low-N stress.

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Accession: 070554750

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