Publications by authors named "Yunji Zhu"

14 Publications

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Successive biochar amendment affected crop yield by regulating soil nitrogen functional microbes in wheat-maize rotation farmland.

Environ Res 2021 03 30;194:110671. Epub 2020 Dec 30.

National Engineering Research Center for Wheat, State Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450046, China.

Biochar has attracted increased attention because of its potential benefits for carbon sequestration, soil fertility, and contaminant immobilization. However, mechanism of long-term successive biochar amendment affected crop yield by regulating soil properties and nitrogen (N) functional microbes is still unclear by now. A field fixed experiment was carried out from 2011 to 2018 that aimed to study the effects of successive biochar on soil properties, soil nitrogen functional microbial genes, and grain yield in wheat and maize rotation farmland in Northern China. Four straw biochar treatments were tested in this study: 0 (BC0, CK), 2.25 (BC2.25), 6.75 (BC6.75), and 11.25 (BC11.25) Mg ha. The results showed that, after seven wheat-maize rotations, the total organic carbon (TOC), total N (TN), NO, available potassium (AK), and the C/N ratio in 0-20 cm topsoil were increased significantly following biochar application; however, there were no obvious differences in available phosphorus (AP) and NH among biochar treatments. Biochar also resulted in a significant increase in crop yield and NO accumulation in 0-200 cm soil layer, with the highest yield in BC6.75. Furthermore, a marked increase was found in the amoA gene abundance in topsoil; however, it decreased significantly with excessive biochar application (BC11.25). At wheat maturity, the nirS gene abundance consistently decreased following biochar application, whereas the nosZ gene abundance initially increased and then decreased (peaking in BC6.75); however, no obvious changes in the nirK gene were observed. At maize maturity, biochar significantly increased the nirS and nosZ gene abundance in topsoil, especially in BC6.75. In addition, redundancy analysis indicated that the soil moisture content, AP, AK, TN, TOC, NO, NH, pH, and C/N ratio had markedly effects on the abundance of the amoA, nirK, nirS, and nosZ genes. In general, biochar-induced alterations of soil properties resulted in changes of gene abundance of soil nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria, and eventually affecting crop yields.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.110671DOI Listing
March 2021

Optimizing nitrogen management to achieve high yield, high nitrogen efficiency and low nitrogen emission in winter wheat.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Dec 27;697:134088. Epub 2019 Aug 27.

State Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450046, PR China.

Achieving both high yield and high nitrogen (N) use efficiency (NUE) simultaneously is a current research hotspot in crop production. To investigate approaches for achieving high yield and NUE, field experiments using N fertilizer rates of 0, 120, 180, 240, 300 and 360 kg N ha were conducted to study relationships between yield, N uptake and N efficiency during three wheat growing seasons from 2013 to 2016 in three experimental sites (Shangshui, Kaifeng and Wenxian) in the Huang-Huai Plain. Yield, biomass and N concentrations of plants and soil were determined. The results indicated that increased N application would affect soil N residue and increase NO emission, suitable N application rate (N240-N268) contributed to maintaining soil fertility and reducing NO emission for achieving high yield, high NUE and low NO emission. High plant N accumulation (PNA) during jointing to anthesis had the best correlation coefficient with yield and NUE compared to other growth stages, which contributed to achieving high yield and NUE simultaneously. The dry matter produced by a unit of N was defined as N productivity, such as plant N net phase productivity (PNPn) and leaf N productivity (LNP). High PNPn during jointing to anthesis was significantly related to both yield and NUE. The LNP indicator (i.e. photosynthetic N use efficiency, PNUE) in the flag showed significant correlation with both yield and NUE after booting under high PNA levels. These results suggest that PNPn and PNUE could combine high yield and high NUE under high PNA conditions. Besides, to match soil N supply to plant N demand, optimum soil nitrate N accumulation and alkali-hydrolysable N (AHN) content ranges were determined. This study provides a theoretical basis to achieve high yield, high NUE and low NO emission for N management in wheat field production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134088DOI Listing
December 2019

Approach to Higher Wheat Yield in the Huang-Huai Plain: Improving Post-anthesis Productivity to Increase Harvest Index.

Front Plant Sci 2018 23;9:1457. Epub 2018 Oct 23.

State Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.

Both increased harvest index (HI) and increased dry matter (DM) are beneficial to yield; however, little is known about the priority of each under different yield levels. This paper aims to determine whether HI or DM is more important and identify the physiological attributes that act as indicators of increased yield. Two field experiments involving different cultivation patterns and water-nitrogen modes, respectively, were carried out from 2013 to 2016 in Huang-Huai Plain, China. Plant DM, leaf area index (LAI), and radiation interception (RI) were measured. Increased yield under low yield levels <7500 kg ha was attributed to an increase in both total DM and HI, while increases under higher yield levels >7500 kg ha were largely dependent on an increase in HI. Under high yield levels, HI showed a significant negative correlation with total DM and a parabolic relationship with net accumulation of DM during filling. Higher net accumulation of DM during filling helped slow down the decrease in HI, thereby maintaining a high value. Moreover, net DM accumulation during filling was positively correlated with yield, while post-anthesis accumulation showed a significant linear relationship with leaf area potential (LAP, = 0.404-0.526) and radiation interception potential (RIP, = 0.452-0.576) during grain filling. These findings suggest that the increase in LAP and RIP caused an increase in net DM accumulation after anthesis. Under DM levels >13,000 kg ha at anthesis, maintaining higher LAI and RI in lower layers during grain formation contributed to higher yield. Furthermore, the ratio of upper- to lower-layer RI showed a second-order curve with yield during filling, with an increase in the optimal range with grain development. Pre-anthesis translocation amount, translocation ratios and contribution ratios also showed second-order curves under high yield levels, with optimal values of 3000-4500 kg ha, 25-35, and 30-50%, respectively. These results confirm the importance of HI in improving the yield, thereby providing a theoretical basis for wheat production in the Huang-Huai Plain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206259PMC
October 2018

Grain number responses to pre-anthesis dry matter and nitrogen in improving wheat yield in the Huang-Huai Plain.

Sci Rep 2018 05 8;8(1):7126. Epub 2018 May 8.

National Engineering Research Centre for Wheat, State Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science, Henan Agricultural University, #62 Nongye Road, Zhengzhou, Henan, 450002, PR China.

Wheat yield components vary between different ecological regions and yield levels. Grain number responses to pre-anthesis dry matter (DM) and nitrogen (N) in increasing yield were always investigated in spike organs, neglecting the effect of non-spike organ nutrition or overall distribution. This paper determined the relationships between grain number and pre-anthesis DM and N in spike and non-spike organs under different yield levels, with using two sorts of field experiments (different water-nitrogen modes and cultivation management patterns) from 2012-2015 in Huang-Huai plain. The results indicated that improving yield under yield of <7500 kg ha depends on increasing grain number per spike (GNs) or spike number (SN) or both, increased yield under higher yield of >7500 kg ha mainly depends on GNs. GNs showed significant positive relationships with above-ground DM accumulation from jointing to anthesis under high or low yield levels. Rapid DM growth in spring achieves higher GNs. Spike and non-spike DM and N contents both demonstrated strong positive relationships with GNs, spike DM distribution also shows a positive correlation, but spike N distribution ratio show negatively correlation with GNs. Improved N distribution in non-spike organs and DM partition in spike organs conduce to increasing GNs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-25608-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5940900PMC
May 2018

Effect of irrigation and nitrogen application on grain amino acid composition and protein quality in winter wheat.

PLoS One 2017 8;12(6):e0178494. Epub 2017 Jun 8.

Agronomy College of Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, Henan, China.

Water management and nitrogen application are critical factors in wheat grain yield and protein quality. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of irrigation and nitrogen application on the grain yield, protein content and amino acid composition of winter wheat. Field experiments were conducted in a split-plot design with three replications in high-yielding land on the North China Plain in 2012/2013, 2013/2014 and 2014/2015. Three irrigation treatments were examined in main plots: no irrigation, irrigation at jointing, and irrigation at jointing plus anthesis, while subplots were assigned to nitrogen treatment at four different rates: 0, 180, 240, 300 kg N ha-1, respectively. The results indicated that irrigation at jointing and at jointing plus anthesis improved grain yield by an average of 12.79 and 18.65% across three cropping seasons, respectively, compared with no irrigation. However, different irrigation treatments had no significant effect on grain protein content in any cropping season. Compared with no N treatment, 180, 240, and 300 kg N ha-1 N application significantly increased grain yield, by 58.66, 61.26 and 63.42% respectively, averaged over three cropping seasons. Grain protein and the total, essential and non-essential amino acid content significantly increased with increasing nitrogen application. Irrigation significantly improved the essential amino acid index (EAAI) and protein-digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) compared with no irrigation; however, N application decreased them by an average of 7.68 and 11.18% across three cropping seasons, respectively. EAAI and PDCAAS were positively correlated, however, they were highly negatively correlated with yield and grain protein content.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0178494PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5464558PMC
September 2017

Wheat Grain Yield Increase in Response to Pre-Anthesis Foliar Application of 6-Benzylaminopurine Is Dependent on Floret Development.

PLoS One 2016 3;11(6):e0156627. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

The College of Agronomy, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

Wheat yield is largely determined during the period prior to flowering, when the final numbers of fertile florets and grains per spike are established. The aim of this study was to assess the dynamics of floret primordia development in winter wheat in response to pre-anthesis application of a synthetic cytokinin, 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA). We conducted an experiment in which two foliar spray treatments were applied (water or 6-BA) to Chinese winter wheat at 25 days after jointing during two growing seasons (2012-2013 and 2013-2014). Both the final grain number per spike and grain yield at maturity exhibited remarkable increases in response to the 6-BA treatment. Application of 6-BA increased the number of fertile florets in basal spikelets and, to a greater extent, in central spikelets. The mechanism by which 6-BA application affected the final number of fertile florets primarily involved suppression of the floret abortion rates. Application of 6-BA considerably reduced the abortion rates of basal, central and apical spikelet florets (by as much as 77% compared with the control), as well as the degeneration rates of basal and central spikelet florets, albeit to a lesser degree. The effect of 6-BA application on the likelihood of proximal florets being set was limited to the distal florets in the whole spike, whereas obvious increases in the likelihood of grain set under 6-BA treatment were observed in distal florets, primarily in central spikelet positions. The results of this study provide important evidence that 6-BA application to florets (final fertile floret production) results in an increased grain yield.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0156627PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892633PMC
July 2017

Nitrous Oxide Emission and Denitrifier Abundance in Two Agricultural Soils Amended with Crop Residues and Urea in the North China Plain.

PLoS One 2016 6;11(5):e0154773. Epub 2016 May 6.

National Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science/Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops/National Engineering Research Center for Wheat, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

The application of crop residues combined with Nitrogen (N) fertilizer has been broadly adopted in China. Crop residue amendments can provide readily available C and N, as well as other nutrients to agricultural soils, but also intensify the N fixation, further affecting N2O emissions. N2O pulses are obviously driven by rainfall, irrigation and fertilization. Fertilization before rainfall or followed by flooding irrigation is a general management practice for a wheat-maize rotation in the North China Plain. Yet, little is known on the impacts of crop residues combined with N fertilizer application on N2O emission under high soil moisture content. A laboratory incubation experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of two crop residue amendments (maize and wheat), individually or in combination with N fertilizer, on N2O emissions and denitrifier abundance in two main agricultural soils (one is an alluvial soil, pH 8.55, belongs to Ochri-Aquic Cambosols, OAC, the other is a lime concretion black soil, pH 6.61, belongs to Hapli-Aquic Vertosols, HAV) under 80% WFPS (the water filled pore space) in the North China Plain. Each type soil contains seven treatments: a control with no N fertilizer application (CK, N0), 200 kg N ha(-1) (N200), 250 kg N ha(-1) (N250), maize residue plus N200 (MN200), maize residue plus N250 (MN250), wheat residue plus N200 (WN200) and wheat residue plus N250 (WN250). Results showed that, in the HAV soil, MN250 and WN250 increased the cumulative N2O emissions by 60% and 30% compared with N250 treatment, respectively, but MN200 and WN200 decreased the cumulative N2O emissions by 20% and 50% compared with N200. In the OAC soil, compared with N200 or N250, WN200 and WN250 increased the cumulative N2O emission by 40%-50%, but MN200 and MN250 decreased the cumulative N2O emission by 10%-20%. Compared with CK, addition of crop residue or N fertilizer resulted in significant increases in N2O emissions in both soils. The cumulative N2O emissions from the treatments of 250 kg N ha(-1) were 1.1-3.3 times higher than those of treatments with 200 kg N ha(-1) in both soils with adding equal amounts of the same type of crop residue. Abundance of the 16S rRNA gene did not significantly change in all treatments in two soils, but the nosZ and nirS genes were more abundant in soils amended with crop residues compared with CK or N-only treatments. N2O emission, however, were not related to the abundance of denitrifier containing nirS or nosZ. The research provided some information regarding the effect of crop residues with N fertilizer on N2O emissions and denitrifier abundances in two soils. Our results imply the property of crop residue and rate of N fertilizer are important influencing factors of N2O emission when crop residues combined with N fertilizer are applied to different agricultural soils.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154773PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4859468PMC
July 2017

Producing more grain with lower environmental costs.

Nature 2014 Oct 3;514(7523):486-9. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

College of Resources &Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.

Agriculture faces great challenges to ensure global food security by increasing yields while reducing environmental costs. Here we address this challenge by conducting a total of 153 site-year field experiments covering the main agro-ecological areas for rice, wheat and maize production in China. A set of integrated soil-crop system management practices based on a modern understanding of crop ecophysiology and soil biogeochemistry increases average yields for rice, wheat and maize from 7.2 million grams per hectare (Mg ha(-1)), 7.2 Mg ha(-1) and 10.5 Mg ha(-1) to 8.5 Mg ha(-1), 8.9 Mg ha(-1) and 14.2 Mg ha(-1), respectively, without any increase in nitrogen fertilizer. Model simulation and life-cycle assessment show that reactive nitrogen losses and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced substantially by integrated soil-crop system management. If farmers in China could achieve average grain yields equivalent to 80% of this treatment by 2030, over the same planting area as in 2012, total production of rice, wheat and maize in China would be more than enough to meet the demand for direct human consumption and a substantially increased demand for animal feed, while decreasing the environmental costs of intensive agriculture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13609DOI Listing
October 2014

Ultrastructural observation of mesophyll cells and temporal expression profiles of the genes involved in transitory starch metabolism in flag leaves of wheat after anthesis.

Physiol Plant 2015 Jan 19;153(1):12-29. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

The Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Food Crops, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

Transitory starch in cereal plant leaves is synthesized during the day and remobilized at night to provide a carbon source for growth and grain filling, but its mechanistic basis is still poorly understood. The objective of this study is to explore the regulatory mechanism for starch biosynthesis and degradation in plant source organs. Using transmission electron microscopy, we observed that during the day after anthesis, starch granules in mesophyll cells of wheat flag leaves accumulated in chloroplasts and the number of starch granules gradually decreased with wheat leaf growth. During the night, starch granules synthesized in chloroplasts during the day were completely or partially degraded. The transcript levels of 26 starch synthesis-related genes and 16 starch breakdown-related genes were further measured using quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Expression profile analysis revealed that starch metabolism genes were clustered into two groups based on their temporal expression patterns. The genes in the first group were highly expressed and presumed to play crucial roles in starch metabolism. The genes in the other group were not highly expressed in flag leaves and may have minor functions in starch metabolism in leaf tissue. The functions of most of these genes in leaves were further discussed. The starch metabolism-related genes that are predominantly expressed in wheat flag leaves differ from those expressed in wheat grain, indicating that two different pathways for starch metabolism operate in these tissues. This provides specific information on the molecular mechanisms of transitory starch metabolism in higher plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ppl.12233DOI Listing
January 2015

Increasing the starch content and grain weight of common wheat by overexpression of the cytosolic AGPase large subunit gene.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2013 Dec 18;73:93-8. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

The National Engineering Research Centre for Wheat, Henan Agricultural University, #63 Nongye Road, Zhengzhou, Henan Province 450002, China. Electronic address:

ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) catalyzes the first committed step of starch synthesis. AGPase is a heterotetramer composed of two large subunits and two small subunits, has cytosolic and plastidial isoforms, and is detected mainly in the cytosol of endosperm in cereal crops. To investigate the effects of AGPase cytosolic large subunit gene (LSU I) on starch biosynthesis in higher plant, in this study, a TaLSU I gene from wheat was overexpressed under the control of an endosperm-specific promoter in a wheat cultivar (Yumai 34). PCR, Southern blot, and real-time RT-PCR analyses indicated that the transgene was integrated into the genome of transgenic plants and was overexpressed in their progeny. The overexpression of the TaLSU I gene remarkably enhanced AGPase activity, endosperm starch weight, grain number per spike, and single grain weight. Therefore, we conclude that overexpression of the TaLSU I gene enhances the starch biosynthesis in endosperm of wheat grains, having potential applications in wheat breeding to develop a high-yield wheat cultivar with high starch weight and kernel weight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2013.09.003DOI Listing
December 2013

Molecular cloning and expression analysis of the starch-branching enzyme III gene from common wheat (Triticum aestivum ).

Biochem Genet 2013 Jun 24;51(5-6):377-86. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Key Laboratory of Physiology, Ecology and Genetic Improvement of Food Crops in Henan Province, National Engineering Research Centre for Wheat, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China.

The starch-branching enzyme (SBE) catalyzes the formation of branch points by cleaving the α-1,4 linkage in polyglucans and reattaching the chain via an α-1,6 linkage. Three types of SBE isoforms (SBEI, SBEII, and SBEIII) exist in higher plants, with the number of SBE isoforms being species-specific. This study isolated the SBEIII cDNA sequence (3,780 bp), designated TaSBEIII (accession no. JQ346193), from common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) using the RACE method, revealing that the SBEIII gene exists in common wheat. The open reading frame of TaSBEIII was 2,748 bp. The predicted protein of 916 amino acids contained the specific characteristics of the SBEIII protein: four highly conserved regions and a central (α/β)(8) barrel domain. The SBE activity of the protein expressed in Escherichia coli (BL21) was also measured and verified. During the wheat grain filling period, TaSBEIII was constitutively expressed. The role of the TaSBEIII gene in starch synthesis is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10528-013-9570-4DOI Listing
June 2013

Proteomics reveals the effects of salicylic acid on growth and tolerance to subsequent drought stress in wheat.

J Proteome Res 2012 Dec 5;11(12):6066-79. Epub 2012 Nov 5.

The National Engineering Research Centre for Wheat, the Key Laboratory of Physiology, Ecology and Genetic Improvement of Food Crops in Henan Province, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, 450002, China.

Pretreatment with 0.5 mM salicylic acid (SA) for 3 days significantly enhanced the growth and tolerance to subsequent drought stress (PEG-6000, 15%) in wheat seedlings, manifesting as increased shoot and root dry weights, and decreased lipid peroxidation. Total proteins from wheat leaves exposed to (i) 0.5 mM SA pretreatment, (ii) drought stress, and (iii) 0.5 mM SA treatment plus drought-stress treatments were analyzed using a proteomics method. Eighty-two stress-responsive protein spots showed significant changes, of which 76 were successfully identified by MALDI-TOF-TOF. Analysis of protein expression patterns revealed that proteins associated with signal transduction, stress defense, photosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, protein metabolism, and energy production could by involved in SA-induced growth and drought tolerance in wheat seedlings. Furthermore, the SA-responsive protein interaction network revealed 35 key proteins, suggesting that these proteins are critical for SA-induced tolerance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr300728yDOI Listing
December 2012

Proteomic analysis on salicylic acid-induced salt tolerance in common wheat seedlings (Triticum aestivum L.).

Biochim Biophys Acta 2012 Dec 31;1824(12):1324-33. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

The National Engineering Research Centre for Wheat, the Key Laboratory of Physiology, Ecology and Genetic Improvement of Food Crops in Henan Province, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, Henan Province,450002, China.

The influence of salicylic acid (SA) on the salt tolerance mechanism in seedlings of common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) was investigated using physiological measurements combined with global expression profiling (proteomics). In the present study, 0.5mM SA significantly reduced NaCl-induced growth inhibition in wheat seedlings, manifesting as increased fresh weights, dry weights, and photosynthetic pigments, but decreased lipid peroxidation. Two-week-old wheat seedlings treated with 0.5mM SA, 250 mM NaCl and 250 mM NaCl+0.5mM SA for 3 days were used for the proteomic analyses. In total, 39 proteins differentially regulated by both salt and SA were revealed by 2D PAGE, and 38 proteins were identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF MS. The identified proteins were involved in various cellular responses and metabolic processes including signal transduction, stress defense, energy, metabolism, photosynthesis, and others of unknown function. All protein spots involved in signal transduction and the defense response were significantly upregulated by SA under salt stress, suggesting that these proteins could play a role in the SA-induced salt resistance in wheat seedlings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbapap.2012.07.012DOI Listing
December 2012

[Effects of different environments on qualitative characters of three gluten wheat cultivars].

Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao 2003 Jun;14(6):917-20

National Engineering Research Center For Wheat, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China.

Six cultivars including strong, middle and weak gluten wheat varieties were cultivated at five latitudes(from 32 degrees N to 36 degrees N) in Henan Province, and the variations of their qualitative characters were analyzed in relation to the different environments. The result indicated that latitudes had great effects on the protein content, wet gluten content, softening degree, evaluation value, and extensibility of the cultivars. The rheological parameters measured by farinogram and the extensogram were significantly different among different among different cultivars, and the coefficients of variation were quite large. The variations in qualitative characters among cultivars and among latitudes were different. With the rising latitude, the protein content, wet gluten content, development time, evaluation value, extensibility, resistance, and maximum resistance showed an increase tendency, with a few exceptions for certain latitude. For most qualitative characters, there was a clear boundary between Xinyan(32 degrees N) and Zhumadian(33 degrees N). According to these results, suggestions in the latitude layout of the hi-quality wheat cultivars and in improving their cultuvation practices were made.
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June 2003
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