Osmotic adjustment and seed yield of Brassica napus and B. juncea genotypes in a water-limited environment in south-western Australia
Niknam, S.R., Ma, Q. and Turner, D.W. (2003) Osmotic adjustment and seed yield of Brassica napus and B. juncea genotypes in a water-limited environment in south-western Australia. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 43 (9). pp. 1127-1135.
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The relationship between osmotic adjustment and seed yield of Brassica oilseeds was examined at a low rainfall site, Merredin, Western Australia, in 1998 and 1999. Genotypes of B. napus and B. juncea were subjected to rain-fed and irrigated treatments at the seed-fill stage. The B. juncea lines showed small or even no yield reduction under rain-fed conditions, and generally had no yield advantage over the B. napus cultivars where irrigated. In both species, an inverse correlation was found between the magnitude of osmotic adjustment and the percentage of yield reduction. Genotypes with low osmotic adjustment, under rain-fed conditions, had a yield reduction of up to 40%, whereas those with high osmotic adjustment had only 0-10% yield reduction. In contrast, seed oil concentrations decreased from 41% under irrigation to 38% under water deficits and the differences among genotypes were not related to osmotic adjustment. In 1999, osmotic adjustment was again observed for most of the genotypes, but its association with seed yield was not as obvious as in the previous year and usually only the osmotically adjusting B. juncea genotypes maintained a good yield under water deficits. Not all the B. juncea genotypes expressed osmotic adjustment despite the fact that they were generally more drought resistant than the B. napus genotypes. In both years, however, osmotic adjustment was associated with increased harvest indices of B. napus and B. juncea, indicating that this physiological trait can be beneficial to Brassica yield in a water-limited Mediterranean-type environment.
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