Genotypic variation and relationships between seedling and adult plant traits in maize (Zea mays L.) inbred lines grown under contrasting nitrogen levels
San Martin, Juan Pablo
Genotypes with better root development have good nutrient acquisition capacity and may yield better under limited nitrogen (N) conditions and consequently can help reduce the N fertilization rate and hence mitigate some economic and ecological problems. This study focused on the genotypic variation among diverse maize inbred lines for seedling and adult plant traits under contrasting N levels. Seventy four lines were screened under high and low N levels in a climate chamber and in the field. High phenotypic diversity was observed for seedling and adult plant traits together with moderate to high broad-sense heritability estimates. Seedling total root length and root dry weight were significantly correlated with other root traits in maize. Of the adult plant traits evaluated in the field, the anthesis-silking interval and the leaf chlorophyll contents were significantly correlated with grain yield under both low and high N levels. In one location, the seminal root length was correlated with grain yield both under low and high N levels and the root dry weight was correlated with grain yield under high N. Selection indices based on secondary root traits along with grain yield could lead to an increase in selection efficiency for grain yield under N stress condition. By identifying lines with better root development, particularly lines with longer SRL, it may be possible to select inbred lines with higher grain yield particularly under low N condition.
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Euphytica. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10681-012-0759-0. Posted with permission.