Grain yield, carbon isotope discrimination and mineral content in mature kernels of barley under irrigated and rainfed conditions
Febrero Ribas, Anna
Bort Pie, Jordi
Marzábal Luna, Pau
Araus Ortega, José Luis
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The relationship between yield, carbon isotope discrimination and ash content in mature kernels was examined for a set of 13 barley (Hordeum vulgare) cultivars. Plants were grown under rainfed and well-irrigated conditions in a Mediterranean area. Water deficit caused a decrease in both grain yield
and carbon isotope discrimination (Δ). The yield was positively related to Δ and negatively related to ash content, across genotypes within each treatment. However, whereas the correlation between yield and Δ was higher for the set of genotypes under well-irrigated (r=0.70, P<0.01) than under rainfed (r=0.42) conditions, the opposite occurred when yield and ash content were related, ie r=-0.38 under well-irrigated and r=-0.73, (P<0.01) under rainfed conditions. Carbon isotope discrimination and ash content together account for almost 60% of the variation in yield, in both conditions. There was no significant relationship (r=-0.15) between carbon isotope discrimination and ash content in well-irrigated plants, whereas in rainfed plants, this relationship, although significant (r=-0.54, P< 0.05), was weakly negative. The concentration of several mineral elements was measured in the same kernels. The mineral that correlated best with ash content, yield and A, was K. For yield and Δ, although the relationship with K followed the same pattern as the relationhip with ash content, the correlation coefficients were lower. Thus, mineral accumulation in mature kernels seems to be independent of transpiration efficiency. In fact, filling of grains takes place through the phloem pathway. The ash content in kernels is proposed as a complementary criterion, in addition to kernel Δ, to assess genotype differences in barley grain yield under rainfed conditions.