, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 262–271 | Cite as

Maize growth and developmental responses to temperature and ultraviolet-B radiation interaction

  • S. K. Singh
  • K. R. Reddy
  • V. R. Reddy
  • W. Gao


Plant response to the combination of two or more abiotic stresses is different than its response to the same stresses singly. The response of maize (Zea mays L.) photosynthesis, growth, and development processes were examined under sunlit plant growth chambers at three levels of each day/night temperatures (24/16°C, 30/22°C, and 36/28°C) and UV-B radiation levels (0, 5, and 10 kJ m−2 d−1) and their interaction from 4 d after emergence to 43 d. An increase in plant height, leaf area, node number, and dry mass was observed as temperature increased. However, UV-B radiation negatively affected these processes by reducing the rates of stem elongation, leaf area expansion, and biomass accumulation. UV-B radiation affected leaf photosynthesis mostly at early stage of growth and tended to be temperature-dependent. For instance, UV-B radiation caused 3–15% decrease of photosynthetic rate (P N) on the uppermost, fully expanded leaves at 24/16°C and 36/28°C, but stimulated P N about 5–18% at 30/22°C temperature. Moreover, the observed UV-B protection mechanisms, such as accumulation of phenolics and waxes, exhibited a significant interaction among the treatments where these compounds were relatively less responsive (phenolics) or more responsive (waxes) to UV-B radiation at higher temperature treatments or vice versa. Plants exposed to UV-B radiation produced more leaf waxes except at 24/16°C treatment. The detrimental effect of UV-B radiation was greater on plant growth compared to the photosynthetic processes. Results suggest that maize growth and development, especially stem elongation, is highly sensitive to current and projected UV-B radiation levels, and temperature plays an important role in the magnitude and direction of the UV-B mediated responses.

Additional key words

photosynthesis phenolic compounds, stem elongation, waxes 



biomass accumulation rate






days after emergence


quantum efficiency by oxidized (open) PSII reaction center in light or actual PSII efficiency


leaf area


leaf area expansion rate


main stem elongation rate


main stem node number


plant height


net photosynthetic rate


soilplant-atmosphere research


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, D.J., Nogues, S., Baker, N.R.: Ozone depletion and increased UV-B radiation: Is there a real threat to photosynthesis? — J. Exp. Bot. 49: 1775–1788, 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ballare, C.L., Caldwell, M.M., Flint, S.D., Robinson, A., Bornman, J.F.: Effects of solar ultraviolet radiation on terrestrial ecosystems. Patterns, mechanisms, and interactions with climate change. — Photoch. Photobio. Sci. 10: 226–241, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Caldwell, M.M., Robberecht, R.D., Flint, S.: Internal filters: prospects for UV-acclimation in higher plants. — Physiol. Plantarum 58: 445–450, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Casati, P., Walbot, V.: Gene expression profiling in response to ultraviolet radiation in maize genotypes with varying flavonoid content. — Plant Physiol. 132: 1739–1754, 2003.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Correia, C.M., Areal, E.L.V., Torres-Pereira, M.S., Torres-Pereira, J.M.G.: Intraspecific variation in sensitivity to ultraviolet-B radiation in maize grown under field conditions. I. Growth and morphological aspects. — Field Crop. Res. 59: 81–89, 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Correia, C.M., Areal, E.L.V., Torres-Pereira, M.S., Torres-Pereira, J.M.G.: Intraspecific variation in sensitivity to ultraviolet-B radiation in maize grown under field conditions: II. Physiological and biochemical aspects. — Field Crop. Res. 62: 97–105, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ebercon, A., Blum, A., Jordan, W.R.: A rapid colorimetric method for epicuticular wax content of sorghum leaves. — Crop Sci. 17: 179–180, 1977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. FAO, 2011: Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (online). FAO, Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  9. Fleisher, D.H., Timlin, D.J., Yang, Y., Reddy, V.R., Reddy, K.R.: Uniformity of soil-plant-atmosphere-research chambers. — T. ASABE 52: 1721–1731, 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gao, W., Zheng, Y.F., Slusser, J.R., et al.: Effects of supplementary ultraviolet-B irradiance on maize yield and qualities: A field experiment. — Photochem. Photobiol. 80: 127–131, 2004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Genty, B., Briantais, J.M., Baker, N.R.: The relationship between the quantum yield of photosynthetic electron transport and quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. — Biochim. Biophys. Acta 990: 87–92, 1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hectors, K., Prinsen, E., De Coen, W., Jansen, M.A.K., Guisez, Y.: Arabidopsis thaliana plants acclimated to low dose rates of ultraviolet B radiation show specific changes in morphology and gene expression in the absence of stress symptoms. — New Phytol. 175: 255–270, 2007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. IPCC. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. — In.: Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M. et al. (ed.): Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Pp- 999. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2007.Google Scholar
  14. Jansen, M.A.K.: Ultraviolet-B radiation effects on plants: induction of morphogenic responses. — Physiol. Plantarum 116: 423–429, 2002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kakani, V.G., Reddy, K.R., Zhao, D., Gao, W.: Senescence and hyperspectral reflectance of cotton leaves exposed to ultraviolet-B radiation and carbon dioxide. — Physiol. Plantarum 121: 250–257, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kim, S.H., Gitz, D.C., Sicherb, R.C., et al.: Temperature dependence of growth, development, and photosynthesis in maize under elevated CO2. — Environ. Exp. Bot. 61: 224–236, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Koti, S., Reddy, K.R., Kakani, V.G., Zhao, D., Gao, W.: Effects of carbon dioxide, temperature and ultraviolet-B radiation and their interactions on soybean (Glycine max L.) growth and development. — Environ. Exp. Bot. 60: 1–10, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Li, Y., He, L., Zu, Y.: Intraspecific variation in sensitivity to ultraviolet-B radiation in endogenous hormones and photosynthetic characteristics of 10 wheat cultivars grown under field conditions. — S. Afr. J. Bot. 76: 493–498, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lichtenthaler, H.K.: Chlorophylls and carotenoids: Pigments of photosynthesis. — Method. Enzymol. 148: 350–382, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lobell, D.B., Burke, M.B., Tebaldi, C., et al.: Prioritizing climate change adaptation needs for food security in 2030. — Science 319: 607–610, 2008.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mark, U., Saile-Mark, M., Tevini, M.: Effects of solar UVB radiation on growth, flowering and yield of central and southern european maize cultivars (Zea mays L.). — Photochem. Photobiol. 64: 457–463, 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mark, U., Tevini, M.: Effects of solar ultraviolet-B radiation, temperature and CO2 on growth and physiology of sunflower and maize seedlings. — Plant Ecol. 128: 224–234, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Martineau, J.R., Williams, J.H., Specht, J.E.: Tolerance in soybean. II. Evaluation of segregating populations for membrane thermostability. — Crop Sci. 19: 79–81, 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McKenzie, R.L., Aucamp, P.J., Bais, A.F., Björn, L.O., Ilyas, M.: Changes in biologically active ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. — Photoch. Photobio. Sci. 6: 218–231, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mercier, J., Baka, M., Reddy, B., Corcuff, R., Arul, J.: Shortwave ultraviolet irradiation for control of decay caused by Botrytis cinerea in bell pepper: Induced resistance and germicidal effects. — J. Am. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 126: 128–133, 2001.Google Scholar
  26. Mittler, R.: Abiotic stress, the field environment and stress combination. — Trends Plant Sci. 11: 15–19, 2006.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nogués, S., Baker, N.R.: Evaluation of the role of damage to photosystem II in the inhibition of CO2 assimilation in pea leaves on exposure to UV-B radiation. — Plant Cell Environ. 18: 781–787, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Qaderi, M. M., Basraon, N. K., Chinnappa, C.C., Reid, D. M.: Combined effects of temperature, ultraviolet-B radiation, and watering regime on growth and physiological processes in canola (Brassica napus) seedlings. — Int. J. Plant Sci. 171: 466–481, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Qu, Y., Feng, H.Y., Wang, Y.B., et al.: Nitric oxide functions as a signal in ultraviolet-B induced inhibition of pea stems elongation. — Plant Sci. 170: 994–1000, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Reddy, K.R., Hodges, H.F., Read, J.J., et al.: Soil-Plant-Atmosphere-Research (SPAR) facility: A tool for plant research and modeling. — Biotronics 30: 27–50, 2001.Google Scholar
  31. Reddy, K.R., Kakani, V.G., Zhao, D., Mohammed, A.R., Gao, W.: Cotton responses to ultraviolet-B radiation: experimentation and algorithm development. — Agr. Forest. Meteorol. 120: 249–265, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Reddy, K.R., Kakani, V.G., Zhao, D., Koti, S., Gao, W.: Interactive effects of ultraviolet-B radiation and temperature on cotton physiology, growth, development and hyperspectral reflectance. — Photochem. Photobiol. 79: 416–427, 2004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Reddy, K.R., Singh, S.K., Koti, S., et al.: Quantifying corn growth and physiological responses to ultraviolet-B radiation for modeling. — Agron. J. 105: 1367–1377, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ros, J., Tevini, M.: UV-radiation and indole-3-acetic acid: Interactions during growth of seedlings and hypocotyl segments of sunflower. — J. Plant Physiol. 146: 295–302, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rozema, J., van de Staaij, J., Björn, L.O., Caldwell, M.: UV-B as an environmental factor in plant life: stress and regulation. — Trends Ecol. Evol. 12: 22–28, 1997.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Singh, S.K., Kakani, V.G., Brand, D., Baldwin, B., Reddy, K.R.: Assessment of cold and heat tolerance of winter-grown canola (Brassica napus L.) cultivars by pollen-based parameters. — J. Agron. Crop Sci. 194: 225–236, 2008a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Singh, S.K., Surabhi, G.-K., Gao, W., Reddy, K.R.: Assessing genotypic variability of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata [L.] Walp.) to current and projected ultraviolet-B radiation. — J. Photoch. Photobio. B 93: 71–81, 2008b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Singh, S.K., Kakani, V.G., Surabhi, G.K., Reddy, K.R.: Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata [L.] Walp.) genotypes response to multiple abiotic stresses. — J. Photoch. Photobio. B 100: 135–146, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Singh, S.K., Reddy, K.R.: Regulation of photosynthesis, fluorescence, stomatal conductance and water-use efficiency of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata [L.] Walp.) under drought. — J. Photoch. Photobio. B 105: 40–50, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Singh, S.K., Badgujar, G., Reddy, V.R., Fleisher, D.H., Bunce, J.A.: Carbon dioxide diffusion across stomata and mesophyll and photobiochemical processes as affected by growth CO2 and phosphorus nutrition in cotton. — J. Plant Physiol. 170: 801–813, 2013.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tao, F., Zhang, Z.: Impacts of climate change as a function of global mean temperature: Maize productivity and water use in China. — Climatic Change 105: 409–432, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Teramura, A.H.: Effects of ultraviolet-B radiation on the growth and yield of crop plants. — Physiol. Plantarum 58: 415–427, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Teramura, A.H., Sullivan, J.H., Lydon, J.: Effects of UV-B radiation on soybean yield and seed quality: a 6-year field study. — Physiol. Plantarum 80: 5–11, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tollenaar, M.: Response of dry matter accumulation in maize to temperature: I. Dry matter partitioning. — Crop Sci. 29: 1239–1246, 1989a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tollenaar, M.: Response of dry matter accumulation in maize to temperature: II. Leaf photosynthesis. — Crop Sci. 29: 1275–1279, 1989b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yin, L.N., Wang, S.W.: Modulated increased UV-B radiation affects crop growth and grain yield and quality of maize in the field. — Photosynthetica 50: 595–601, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zhao, D., Reddy, K.R., Kakani, V.G., Read, J.J., Sullivan, J.H.: Growth and physiological responses of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) to elevated carbon dioxide and ultraviolet-B radiation under controlled environmental conditions. — Plant Cell Environ. 26: 771–782, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. K. Singh
    • 2
  • K. R. Reddy
    • 1
  • V. R. Reddy
    • 2
  • W. Gao
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Plant and Soil SciencesMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  2. 2.Crop Systems and Global Change LaboratoryUSDA-ARSBeltsvilleUSA
  3. 3.USDA-UV-B Monitoring Network, Natural Resource Ecology LaboratoryColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations