Find Paper, Faster
Example:10.1021/acsami.1c06204 or Chem. Rev., 2007, 107, 2411-2502
Efficient nitrogen allocation and reallocation into the ear in relation to the superior vascular system in low-nitrogen tolerant maize hybrid
Field Crops Research  (IF6.145),  Pub Date : 2022-05-25, DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2022.108580
Zheng Liu, Ye Sha, Yiwen Huang, Zhanhong Hao, Wenqing Guo, Lihua Ke, Fanjun Chen, Lixing Yuan, Guohua Mi

Efficient nitrogen (N) utilization is crucial for maintaining grain yield under low N input. Less is known about the role of within-plant N allocation and reallocation on ear development and the factors determining N allocation during the critical period around silking. In this study, two maize hybrids, ZD958 (N-efficient) and LY99 (N-inefficient), were evaluated in a 2-year field experiment under two N rates (60 and 180 kg N ha-1). N transport and allocation into the ear during critical period were investigated using 15N stable isotopic tracer. The number and area of vascular bundles in ear shank, above- and below-ear internode were measured. The two hybrids did not differ in grain yields under high N rate. However, the grain yield of ZD958 was 43.6% higher than that of LY99 under low N rate, deriving from 26.3% and 13.9% increment in grain number and grain weight, respectively. At early critical growth stage before silking, ZD958 increased allocation of soil-derived N to the ear by 225.2% compared with LY99 under low N rate. At late critical growth stage after silking, ZD958 increased allocation of soil-derived N and reallocation of vegetative-N to the ear by 45.5% and 116.6%, respectively, compared with LY99 under low N rate. As a result, ear growth rate and ear N content of ZD958 was 22.2% and 69.1% higher than that of LY99 at the end of critical period. During N allocation and N reallocation, the lower leaves were sacrificed and the N status of the ear leaf and upper leaves was mostly maintained to sustain photosynthesis. In the ear shank, flux rate and N concentration of the xylem sap in ZD958 were 53.1% and 32.5% greater at silking stage, and were 40.8% and 27.5% greater at 14-days after silking, respectively, compared with LY99 under low N rate. Correspondingly, the number and average area of big vascular bundles in ear shank of ZD958 were 56.2% and 31.0% greater compared with LY99. Parameters characterizing the number and area of big vascular bundles were positively correlated with N allocation and grain yield, while that of small vascular bundles were negative. It is concluded that efficient N allocation to the ear at critical period is essential for ear growth and the subsequent vegetative-N remobilization, so as to improve low-N tolerance in high-yielding maize hybrids. A superior vascular system around the ear, especially in the ear shank, can enhance N allocation into the ear and could be regarded as a physiological selection trait in maize breeding to improve nitrogen use efficiency.