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Acta Agron Sin ›› 2016, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (02): 230-242.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2016.00230


Effect of Alternate Irrigation in Partitioned Roots on the Kernel-filling and Its Related Physiological Characteristics in Maize

XU Yun-Ji,QIAN Xi-Yang,LI Yin-Yin,WANG Zhi-Qin,YANG Jian-Chang*   

  1. Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology / Co-Innovation Center for Modern Production Technology of Grain Crops, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China
  • Received:2015-07-19 Revised:2015-11-20 Online:2016-02-12 Published:2015-12-07
  • Contact: 杨建昌, E-mail: jcyang@yzu.edu.cn, Tel: 0514-87979317 E-mail:xuyunji19881004@163.com
  • Supported by:

    The research was supported by the National Basic Research Program (973 Program, 2012CB114306), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31271641, 31471438), Jiangsu “Three-innovation” Agricultural Project (SXG2014313), and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).


This study investigated whether and how post-tasseling alternate irrigation in partitioned roots could enhance the filling of inferior caryopses in maize. A high-yielding maize cultivar, Denghai 11, was grown in a glasshouse, and two irrigation treatments, conventional irrigation (CI) and alternate irrigation in partitioned roots (PAI), were applied from tasseling to maturity. Kernel filling rates and starch accumulation rates of superior and inferior caryopses and changes in ethylene evolution rate and polyamine contents in caryopses, photosynthetic and senescence characteristics of the ear leaf and non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) in stems were determined. The results showed that, compared with CI, PAI significantly increased kernel yield, strengthened photosynthetic characteristics of the ear leaf during late kernel-filling period, delayed leaf senescence, promoted NSC remobilization from stems, and increased free-spermidine (free-Spd) and free-spermine (free-Spm) contents, whereas declined the free-putrescine (free-Put) content and ethylene evolution rate in inferior caryopses. No significant effect of PAI on the kernel filling of superior caryopses was detected. Correlation analysis showed that kernel-filling rates and starch accumulation rates were very significantly and positively correlated with free-Spd and free-Spm contents, and significantly and negatively correlated with ethylene evolution rate. The results indicate that PAI enhances the filling of inferior caryopses and increases kernel yield through increasing photosynthetic ability of the ear leaf, remobilization of NSC from stems, and free-Spd and free-Spm contents, and decreasing ethylene evolution rate in inferior caryopses during the grain-filling period.

Key words: Maize, Alternate irrigation in partitioned roots, Kernel filling, Superior caryopses, Inferior caryopses, Physiological characteristics

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