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Acta Agron Sin ›› 2013, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (11): 2065-2073.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2013.02065


Effects of Low-light Stress on Male and Female Flower Development and Pollination and Fructification Ability of Different Maize (Zea mays L.) Genotypes

ZHOU Wei-Xia1,WANG Xiu-Ping2,MU Xin-Yuan1,LI Chao-Hai1,*   

  1. 1 Collaborative Innovation Center for High Yield and High Efficiency Production of Cereal Crop in Henan Province / Agronomy College, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China; 2 Henan Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Zhengzhou 450003, China
  • Received:2013-03-26 Revised:2013-06-24 Online:2013-11-12 Published:2013-08-12
  • Contact: 李潮海, E-mail: lichaohai2005@163.com, Tel: 0371-63555629


A split plot experiment was conducted under field conditions to study the effects of low-light stress on the ear and tassel development, pollination and seed-setting rate using two maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids (low light sensitive hybrid Yuyu22 and low light tolerant hybrid Zhengdan958). Low-light stress from three days before tasselling to ten days after silking was obtained using 50% transmittance shading nets. The results showed that low-light stress caused a slowdown of ear and tassel growth and development rate, delayed the tasselling date, silking date and full flowering date, prolonged the anthesis-silking interval (ASI). Daily pollen quantity was higher under low-light stress than that of the control at silking with a larger difference compared with the low light sensitive hybrid. For the low light sensitive hybrid under low light stress, reticula and gaps in the surface of pollen were increased, pollen aperture and its near part were severely deformed with significantly retraction, nutrient supply was reduced due to the reduction of starch grains in the pollen. While for the low light tolerant hybrid under low light stress, pollen surface characters were similar to those of the control, with a little retraction of the pollen aperture and decrease of starch grain density in the pollen. Under low light stress, pollen activity, pollen emergence rate and pollen tube growth rate of the low light sensitive hybrid decreased while those of the low light tolerant hybrid increased. Silk elongation rate and number of silks emerged from the husks were decreased and decreased more in the ear tip than in the ear base. Ear length and kernel number per ear decreased in both hybrids and decreased more in low light sensitive hybrid. Prolonged ASI, deformed pollen, reduction of nutrient supply in pollen, decreased silk elongation rate and number of silks emerged from the husks, and the decrease of kernel IAA content and the increase of kernel ABA content were the primary causes leading to the reduction of ear kernel number.

Key words: Maize, Low-light stress, Light recovery, Genotype, Kernel number

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