Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 257–265 | Cite as

Waterlogging and simulated acid rain after anthesis deteriorate starch quality in wheat grain

  • Qin Zhou
  • Xiaojing Wu
  • Liang Xin
  • Haidong Jiang
  • Xiao Wang
  • Jian Cai
  • Dong Jiang
Original paper


The synthesis and accumulation of starch is greatly affected by environmental stress. Wheat grown in the downstream area of the Yangtze River is easily subjected to stress of waterlogging and acid rain. In order to probe the effect of waterlogging and acid rain on yield and starch characteristic, we used winter wheat cultivars of Yangmai 16 (more resistant) and Wennong 17 (relatively sensitive) to sole stress of acid rain or waterlogging and to their combinations during grain filling. The responses of grain yield, the physiochemical properties and morphology of starch granules in endosperm to the stresses were investigated. Compared with CT (control), grain yield in Wennong 17 were significantly decreased by both pH 4.0 acid rain and pH 2.5 acid rain, while in Yangmai 16 only by pH 2.5 acid rain. Waterlogging combined with acid rain significantly reduced grain weight and grain yield in both wheat cultivars. Acid rain, waterlogging and their combination depressed activities of ADP glucose pyrophosphorylase and soluble starch synthase (SSS) in grains of both cultivars. Acid rain and waterlogging damaged endosperm cell structure and caused abnormal starch granules. Starch granules at maturity became fragile and failed to keep in shape and some granules were even totally submerged in the protein matrix and other tissue under acid rain and waterlogging. Content of amylopectin and amylopectin/amylose ratio was also decreased, while content of amylose was increased under acid rain and waterlogging. As a result, swelling power and most viscosity parameters decreased, while the pasting temperature increased in both cultivars due to stresses. In sum, acid rain and waterlogging and their combination damaged cell structure and depressed synthesis of amylopectin, and led to the formation of abnormal fragile starch granules, and finally reduced grain weight and then yield, and deteriorated starch quality.


Acid rain Endosperm ultrastructure Pasting properties Starch content Waterlogging 



This study was supported by projects of National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0301206, 2016YFD0300408), the National Natural Science Foundation for the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471445, 31325020, 31401326 and 31170475), Collaborative Innovation Center of Gene Resources and the National Non-profit Program by Ministry of Agriculture (201403039), the China Agriculture Research System (CARS-03), Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Modern Crop Production (JCIC-MCP).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Technique Innovation Center for Regional Wheat Production/Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology, Ecology and Management, Ministry of Agriculture/National Engineering and Technology Center for Information AgricultureNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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