Perennial growth and salinity tolerance in wheat x wheatgrass amphiploids varying in the ratio of wheat to wheatgrass genomes

Abbasi, J.; Dehghani, H.; Dvorak, J.; McGuire, P.E.

Plant Breeding 139(6): 1281-1289


ISSN/ISBN: 0179-9541
DOI: 10.1111/pbr.12856
Accession: 071040766

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Since wheat and other annual cereal crops are often harvested for forage instead of grain in California, replacing them with perennial crops could save energy and reduce the release of heat-trapping gases. To assess the potential for perennial crops based on wheat, biomass yield and stand persistence were studied for nine wheatxwheatgrass amphiploids (8x to 14x) and five wheatgrass species (2x to 10x) over three seasons in the Central Valley, California. The 8x and 10x amphiploids died after one biomass harvest and a single summer period. In contrast, the 14x amphiploids, which were sterile, continued producing biomass over the entire period of the trial. They were also highly salt-stress tolerant with little decline in biomass production in response to an increase in salinity from 100 and 250 mM NaCl in a solution-culture study. The development of a salt-stress-tolerant perennial crop based on wheat for the California-type climate will require either a substantial improvement in perennial growth of low-ploidy (8x) amphiploids or the development of technology for efficient vegetative propagation of the sterile high-ploidy (14x) amphiploids.