Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 86, Issue 2, pp 195–210 | Cite as

Comparison on physiological adaptation and phosphorus use efficiency of upland rice and lowland rice under alternate wetting and drying irrigation

  • Tao Song
  • Feiyun Xu
  • Wei Yuan
  • Yingjiao Zhang
  • Tieyuan Liu
  • Moxian Chen
  • Qijuan Hu
  • Yuan Tian
  • Weifeng XuEmail author
  • Jianhua ZhangEmail author
Original paper


As one of the most widely promoted water-saving irrigation strategies for rice, alternate wetting and drying irrigation (AWD) can not only save water but also increase mineral nutrient use efficiency. In this study, we compared the growth conditions of four rice varieties (two lowland and two upland varieties) under three irrigation regimes: continuously flooded (CF), alternate wetting and moderate soil drying (AWD15) and alternate wetting and severe soil drying (AWD30). AWD15 and AWD30 enabled the plants to receive fewer irrigation events and less irrigation water than CF, thereby saving both water resources and labor. AWD15 reduced redundant vegetative growth, promoted root growth, and increased the root-shoot ratio and harvest index. AWD15 increased the grain yield, water use efficiency (WUE) and phosphorus use efficiency (PUE) of upland rice and maintained the grain yield while increasing the WUE and PUE of lowland rice. More developed root systems under AWD helped upland rice to maintain a higher water status than lowland rice when plants were subjected to soil drying, which resulted in superior performance in grain yield in upland rice. AWD30 could not reconcile the demands of higher yield and the desire to reduce irrigation water use because it decreased grain yield. The results indicate that AWD15 irrigation of rice can not only increase rice yield and WUE but also enhance PUE, which can potentially reduce the use of phosphorus fertilizers. The results provide theoretical and technical support for improving rice cultivation.


Water use efficiency Phosphorus use efficiency Root growth traits Water-efficient irrigation Root oxidation activity 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31761130073), Research Grant of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (KXGH17005), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2017M622801), Shenzhen Overseas Talents Innovation and Entrepreneurship Funding Scheme (The Peacock Scheme, KQTD201101) and Hong Kong Research Grant Council (AoE/M-05/12, AoE/M-403/16, CUHK14122415, 14160516, 14177617).

Author contributions

JZ and WX designed experiments. TS, FX, WY, YZ, TL, MC, QH and YT performed experiments. TS, FX, WY and YZ analysed data. JZ, WX, TS, FX, WY and YZ wrote the manuscript. JZ and WX critically commented and revised it.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tao Song
    • 1
    • 2
  • Feiyun Xu
    • 3
  • Wei Yuan
    • 3
  • Yingjiao Zhang
    • 3
  • Tieyuan Liu
    • 1
  • Moxian Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qijuan Hu
    • 2
  • Yuan Tian
    • 2
    • 5
  • Weifeng Xu
    • 3
    Email author
  • Jianhua Zhang
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Life Sciences and State Key Laboratory of AgrobiotechnologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Shenzhen Research InstituteThe Chinese University of Hong KongShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Center for Plant Water-use and Nutrition Regulation and College of Life Sciences, Joint International Research Laboratory of Water and Nutrient in Crop, Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Genetic Breeding and Multiple Utilization of CropsFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of BiologyHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongChina
  5. 5.State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Life ScienceShandong Agricultural UniversityTaianChina

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