Effect of paclobutrazol, a potential growth regulator on stalk mechanical strength, lignin accumulation and its relation with lodging resistance of maize Original paper First Online: 08 November 2017 Received: 28 May 2017 Accepted: 27 October 2017 Abstract
Dense plant cultivation is an efficient approach to utilize the maximum inputs for increasing maize production. However, dense plant populations may prone to lodging as it results in increased plant height and reduced culm diameter; therefore, we hypothesized that weaker stems may be responsible for maize lodging. In this study, we examined the regulatory effects of paclobutrazol under two commonly used application methods (seed-soaking and seed-dressing). Seed-soaking with paclobutrazol at the rate of 0 (CK1), 200 (S1), 300 (S2), and 400 (S3) mg L
−1, while seed-dressing at the rate of 0 (CK2), 1.5 (D1), 2.5 (D2), and 3.5 (D3) g kg −1 were used. Results showed that paclobutrazol improved the culm physical strength by increasing the rind penetration strength, stalk breaking strength, culm diameter, wall thickness, and dry weight per unit length of basal third internode, compared to control plants. Moreover, paclobutrazol reduced the internode length, plant height, ear height, center of gravity height and lodging rate in both growing seasons. In addition, more lignin was accumulated in the basal internode and the activities of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), peroxidase (POD), cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) and 4-coumarate: CoA ligase (4CL) increased with paclobutrazol, and their maximum values were observed in the S2 and D3 treatments, resulting in strong lodging resistance. Lignin content was positively and significantly correlated with the rind penetration strength, breaking strength of internode, and activities of PAL, 4CL, POD, and CAD, while significantly and negatively correlated with lodging percentage. The present findings suggested that 300 mg L −1 and 3.5 g kg −1 of paclobutrazol may efficiently be utilized to minimize the risk of lodging, not only by manipulating plant height but also by enhancing culm physical strength and lignin accumulation in basal internodes. Keywords Enzyme activities Lignin Lodging Paclobutrazol Stem strength Zea mays L.
Muhammad Kamran and Cui Wenwen have contributed equally to this work.
Han Qingfang and Liu Tiening jointly supervised this work.
A correction to this article is available online at
. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10725-018-0367-7 Notes Acknowledgements
This work was supported by High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program, No. 2013AA102902), the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201303104), the 111 Project of Chinese Education Ministry (B12007).
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