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Acta Agronomica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (9): 1680-1689.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2021.04220

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Different response of cotton leaves to heat stress is closely related to the night starch degradation

ZHAO Wen-Qing1(), XU Wen-Zheng1,2, YANG Liu-Yan1, LIU Yu1, ZHOU Zhi-Guo1, WANG You-Hua1,*()   

  1. 1College of Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University / Key Laboratory of Crop Ecophysiology and Management, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs / Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Modern Crop Production (JCIC-MCP), Nanjing 210095, Jiangsu, China
    2Institute of Tobacco Research, Henan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Xuchang 461000, Henan, China
  • Received:2020-09-27 Accepted:2021-01-21 Online:2021-09-12 Published:2021-03-01
  • Contact: WANG You-Hua E-mail:zhaowenqing@njau.edu.cn;w_youhua@njau.edu.cn
  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China “Physiological Basis and Agronomic Management for High-quality and High-yield of Field Cash Crops”(2018YFD1000900);Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Modern Crop Production(JCIC-MCP)


The export rate of photosynthetic products from leaves is an important manifestation of their source capacity. Heat induced source capacity shortage is one of the major reasons for cotton yield reduction and quality deterioration. To explore the difference and mechanism of leaf carbohydrate export in response to short-term heat stress between cotton cultivars with different heat sensitivity, pot experiments were carried out using two cotton cultivars PHY370WR (heat tolerance) and Sumian 15 (heat sensitivity) as experimental materials in 2015 and 2016. Two temperature treatment (CK, average temperature 26℃; HT, average temperature 34℃) was conducted at flowering and boll forming stages lasting for five days. Results showed that cotton boll weight was significantly decreased and specific leaf weight was increased by HT. The reduction of boll weight and increase of specific leaf weight of PHY370WR were lower than that of Sumian 15. The results of 13C labeled photosynthetic products showed that the carbohydrate export efficiency (CEE) of cotton leaves was significantly reduced by HT. Compared with CK, the decrease rate of CEE in Sumian 15 was 22.1% and the decline slope was -2.48, significantly higher than that of PHY370WR by 15.7% and -1.82, respectively. The decrease after five days of recovery in CEE diminished, but the differences at five days of HT between varieties were increased from 6.4% to 10.2% compared with at five days after HT released. The recovery slope of CEE in Sumian 15 was only 0.44, far less than 0.89 of PHY370WR. In addition, compared with HT, the difference of daily variation amplitude of sucrose content was decreased and the difference of daily variation amplitude of starch content was increased between cultivars after five days recovery. The latter was consistent with the trend of CEE in response to HT. Correlation analysis revealed that starch content of daily variation amplitude was more significantly correlated with CEE than sucrose. Further analysis showed that at both five days of HT and five days after HT released, the difference of increase in the minimum (night) starch content between cultivars was more significant than that of decrease in the maximum (day) starch content. The differences between cultivars at five days after HT released were significantly larger than that at five days of HT. In conclusion, there were the differences of cotton leaf CEE with different heat sensitivities not only during high temperature stress but also after the relief of stress. The heat tolerant cultivar PHY370WR indicated stronger resistance to HT and better recovery ability after HT released, which was closely related to a better starch degradation ability with a less increase in the minimum starch content in leaves at night.

Key words: cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), heat stress, subtending leaf, carbohydrates transportation

Fig. 1

Effects of high temperature stress on specific leaf weight and boll weight with different heat tolerance in cotton The boll weight and the specific leaf weight data are derived from the investigation of 20 non-sampling cotton plants at harvest stage. Different uppercase and lowercase letters indicate significant differences at P < 0.01 and P < 0.05 between cultivars according to the shortest significant ranges (SSR) test, respectively. "

Fig. 2

Differences of carbohydrate transportation efficiency in leaves of different heat-tolerant cultivars under and after high temperature k1 and k3 represent the decline slopes of PHY370WR and Sumian 15 under heat stress, respectively; k2 and k4 represent the recovery slopes of PHY370WR and Sumian 15 after heat stress released, respectively. "

Fig. 3

Diurnal variation of sucrose content and starch content in cotton leaves The picture A shows the diurnal variation of sucrose and starch content in the leaves under field cultivation conditions which is sampled every hour. The picture B shows the performance under pot experiment conditions which is sampled every three hours."

Fig. 4

Diurnal variation of sucrose content and starch content in cotton leaves CK: normal temperature control and average temperature 26℃; HT: heat stress, and average temperature 34℃."

Fig. 5

Correlation between diurnal variation of sucrose and starch content and carbohydrate transportation efficiency in cotton leaves after five days of high temperature stress and five days of recovery The darker the color of the block, the stronger the correlation between carbohydrate transportation efficiency and the diurnal conversion rates of starch content and sucrose content in subtending leaves. ** Significant at the 1% probability level. "

Fig. 6

Variation of high temperature stress to diurnal variation of starch content in leaves of cotton boll cultivars The vertical axis is the variation of maximum/minimum starch content in the leaves of PHY370WR, while the horizontal axis is the variation of maximum/minimum starch content in the leaves of Sumian 15. The farther the distribution of points in the figure is from the oblique line, the greater the difference between cultivars. Variation of maximum/minimum starch content = (maximum/minimum starch content HT - maximum/minimum starch content CK)/(maximum/minimum starch content CK)."

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