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Among the abiotic stress factors influencing the growth and productivity of wheat varieties, extremely high temperatures have the most limiting effect. In an experiment set up in the gradient chamber of the Martonvásár phytotron to test the effect of various temperatures on four winter wheat varieties and one variety of spelt, substantial differences were observed in the heat stress tolerance of the varieties. There was a considerable reduction in the number of shoots and spikes as the result of heat stress, leading to a drastic loss of grain yield. It was clear from changes in the biomass and in the grain:straw ratio that extremely high temperatures led to a substantial reduction in the ratio of grain to straw in the varieties tested. In response to high temperature the wheat plants turned yellow earlier due to the rapid decomposition of the chlorophyll content. This resulted in a considerable shortening of the vegetation period and early ripening. Reductions in the parameters tested were observed at different temperature levels for each variety, indicating considerable differences in the ability of the varieties to adapt to abiotic stress factors.
The yield potential of wheat depends not only on genetic × environmental interactions, but also on various agronomic factors such as sowing date or the seed rate used for sowing. The main aim of this work was to determine possible correlations between the effects of different sowing dates and plant densities on the yield components of a collection of 48 wheat genotypes. Two-way analysis of variance on the data revealed that both sowing date and plant density, as main components, only had a minor effect on the yield component patterns. Correlation analysis, however, indicated that the sowing date had a greater effect on the yield components, while plant density was in closer correlation with the heading time (r = 0.90). The patterns determined for individual yield components at two different sowing dates and plant densities showed significant differences for spike length, spike fertility, grain number in the main spike, number of productive tillers, grain number on side tillers, mean grain number and grain weight. Genotypes that carry the winter (recessive) alleles of genes regulating vernalisation processes (VRN-A1, VRN-B1, VRN-D1) and the sensitive (recessive) alleles of the two genes responsible for photoperiod sensitivity (PPD-B1, PPD-D1) may have better tillering and consequently higher grain yield, though this may depend greatly on the year.
The unfavourable effects of climate change were studied in terms of changes in the stress tolerance of cereals. The yield and physiological parameters of two winter wheat genotypes (Mv Mambó, Mv Regiment) were analysed in the phytotron after water was completely withheld for 7 or 14 days in three phenophases. The plants were raised in climate chambers, one adjusted to ambient CO2 concentration and the other to a higher level (750 μmol mol−1). The aim of the present work was to determine the correlations between the duration of water withholding and the phenological, physiological and yield parameters of winter wheat. It was hoped to identify how elevated CO2 levels affected the stress sensitivity of plants and whether they contributed to counteracting the damaging effects of drought. In both varieties, the grain mass decreased to the greatest extent when water was withheld at first node appearance (5.9–71.3%). A longer period of drought at first node appearance and grain filling only reduced the grain number and mass in the case of enhanced CO2. The yield and physiological parameters of Mv Regiment, however, deteriorated substantially as a result of water deficiency, though this variety was better able to utilise surplus CO2, giving outstanding results at elevated CO2 level.
Magnesium participates in numerous enzymatic reactions in the human body and it has essential role in the maintenance of the antioxidant system. Since several magnesium compounds have been applied in the food and pharmaceutical industry, our purpose was to investigate the antioxidant/free radical scavenging activity of some magnesium compounds in vitro. The antioxidant/prooxidant effect of inorganic salts (e.g. MgCl2) and organic complexes (e.g. Mg-gluconate) was determined with chemiluminometric method (H2O2/•OH-microperoxidase-luminol) and heme mediated LDL oxidation (LDL-heme-H2O2 ) in vitro. It has been stated that the chemiluminescence method and LDL (low density lipoprotein) oxidation measurement is applicable in the presence of magnesium salts and complexes. Most of the compounds do not generate free radicals and the antioxidant/prooxidant effect depends on the quality of the ligand and the concentration. In the concentration range used, some representatives of the magnesium compounds (MgO, Mg-gluconate, Mg-polygalacturonate) investigated showed radical generating activity measured with chemiluminescence method, whereas the LDL oxidation has not been affected. Magnesium citrate and malate proved to be antioxidants measured with the chemiluminescence method and they slightly accelerate the LDL oxidation in the system and in the concentration applied. In vitro some of the ligands of magnesium compounds showed antioxidant activities.
Stress tolerance is associated with the activation of antioxidant compounds and enzyme systems that are capable of neutralising the reactive oxygen species (ROS) continually produced in response to stress. The present experiment was designed to compare the heat tolerance of four winter wheat varieties in the shooting and grain-filling stages by investigating changes detected in antioxidant enzyme activity and yield components in response to heat stress.Heat treatment was found to cause a significant rise in the activity of the glutathione-S-transferase and catalase enzymes, while there was usually a less intense decline in the activity of guaiacol peroxidase.An analysis of yield data revealed that heat stress had a more pronounced effect during grain filling in this experiment than at the beginning of shooting, as shown by the greater reduction in thousand-kernel weight and yield.
The transitions between various developmental phases are critical in determining the ecological adaptation and yield of cereals. In order to elaborate a methodology for establishing the timing of the consecutive plant developmental phases from germination to the fully developed plant, regular measurements of changes in developmental components were carried out on one winter (Kompolti Korai) and one spring (Morex) barley cultivar in a model experiment. Under the controlled environmental conditions linear regression was characteristic of the associations between the chronological time and all or most of the time course data of plant height, tiller and leaf numbers. The initial growth of the spring barley was twice as intensive as that of the winter barley. The length of the stem elongation phases was similar for the two varieties, but the winter barley cultivar showed significantly more intensive stem growth compared to the spring barley. The spring barley reached all the plant developmental phases significantly earlier than the winter barley. For both cultivars, tillering continued till after first node appearance and there was a definite delay between first node appearance and the beginning of the stem elongation phase. The determination of the full series of phenophases, together with the evaluation of various yield components on the same plant, provide an excellent way of establishing plant developmental patterns and may make a significant contribution to achieving a better understanding of the associations between plant developmental patterns and the adaptation and yielding ability of cereals.
A long-term experiment was started in 2005 in the Agricultural Research Institute to monitor the effects of extreme climatic events on the grain yield, quality and disease resistance of cereals. The yield was poor in 2007 due to the long dry period from autumn till spring, while it was high in 2006 and 2008 when there was more precipitation. The grain quality was the highest in 2007, however, despite the extreme weather events. Fungicide treatment generally resulted in higher yield potential and better grain quality in every year.
Finding and improving wheat cultivars with good adaptability to abiotic stress is an important objective in breeding programmes. An experiment was set up in the climate chamber of the Martonvásár phytotron to test the effect of heat and drought stress on two winter wheat varieties and one variety of durum. Wheat plants exposed to 35°C and drought during grain filling exhibited altered agronomic and grain quality characteristics. Drought was found to have a much greater influence on yield and quality than heat stress. Reductions in the unextractable polymeric protein fraction and the glutenin-to-gliadin ratio indicated poorer grain yield quality as a result of drought, despite higher protein content. Quality deterioration was observed after drought, while heat stress had no noticeable influence on the protein quality of the three wheat genotypes, measured using size exclusion high performance liquid chromatography (SE-HPLC). The durum variety had a better ratio of protein components and a significantly higher Zeleny value when exposed to heat stress, although it had the lowest grain yield and grain/straw ratio.The most significant negative correlation was observed between the Zeleny value and the unextractable polymeric protein (UPP%) fraction after heat treatment and between the relative protein content and the albumin+globulin % (AG%) in the case of drought. These correlations testify that these parameters play an important role in determining the baking quality of wheat flour.
Phytotron experiments were conducted to examine the impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 level (750 μmol mol−1) on the drought tolerance of winter barley (Petra), durum wheat (Mv Makaroni) and spring oat (Mv Pehely) varieties. Under drought stress conditions, the durum wheat variety was found to be unaffected by CO2 enrichment, as neither the biomass or grain yield nor the antioxidant enzyme activities changed compared to those at ambient CO2. Despite the fact that the spring oat variety had similar grain yield loss due to drought at both CO2 levels, it exhibited reduced antioxidant enzyme activities under less severe drought, indicating a slightly increased tolerance to drought. Winter barley, which exhibited an extremely positive reaction to CO2 enrichment at the control water supply level, also showed increased drought tolerance in response to high CO2. It had low glutathione reductase, glutathione-S-transferase and ascorbate peroxidase activities even at the most severe drought stress levels, while it could also fully compensate for the negative effects of drought on biomass and grain yield parameters when grown at elevated CO2.
Heat stress during the grain-filling period has a substantial effect on embryo development, and on the size and chemical composition of the grain. The lines of a doubled haploid population arising from a cross between a heat-sensitive (Plainsman V) and a heat-tolerant (Mv Magma) wheat variety were analysed to determine how these changes influenced the germination of kernels formed during heat stress and the initial development of the seedlings. Heat stress during the early grain development of the main spike had a significant influence on the yield components, which differed however for the main and side spikes. Considerable differences were observed in the extent to which the yield components declined in the individual lines. Averaged over the population, the germination percentage, and the shoot and root length and root number of the seedlings did not differ significantly for seed originating from heat-stressed and control plants.