Plant and Soil

, Volume 374, Issue 1–2, pp 359–370 | Cite as

Physiological properties of a drought-resistant wild soybean genotype: Transpiration control with soil drying and expression of root morphology

  • Thomas M. Seversike
  • Shannon M. Sermons
  • Thomas R. Sinclair
  • Thomas E. CarterJr.
  • Thomas W. Rufty
Regular Article



Wild soybean accession PI 468917 [Glycine soja (Sieb. and Zucc.)] was examined for traits that could potentially be beneficial for development of drought resistant soybean cultivars.


Water use was examined in controlled environment chambers at three temperatures (25, 30, and 35 °C). Root morphology of plants grown in hydroponics was analyzed using digital imaging software.


Wild soybean had lower transpiration efficiency in producing mass than the domesticated soybean cultivar Hutcheson at all temperatures. As soil dried, wild soybean decreased transpiration earlier (at a higher soil water content) than domesticated soybean, but only at 25 °C. Wild soybean had much greater root length than the modern soybean when grown at 25 or 30 °C in hydroponics, with the increase observed in the 0.25 to 0.50 mm diameter class. Wild soybean’s advantages dissipated at higher growth temperatures.


Wild soybean populations, potentially, can offer useful traits for improving drought resistance of modern soybean. Sensitive transpiration control in response to soil drying would contribute to ‘slow-wilting’ strategies known to be advantageous for drought resistance, and greater root length would enhance water acquisition from the soil profile. Use of the traits in breeding programs will require extending the temperature range for trait expression.


Glycine soja Glycine max Fraction of transpirable soil water Drought Transpiration efficiency 



Break point


Fraction of transpirable soil water


Normalized transpiration ratio


Vapor pressure deficit


Transpiration efficiency


Transpiration efficiency based on the shoot mass divided by the transpiration of plants


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. Seversike
    • 1
  • Shannon M. Sermons
    • 2
  • Thomas R. Sinclair
    • 2
  • Thomas E. CarterJr.
    • 3
  • Thomas W. Rufty
    • 2
  1. 1.Syngenta SeedsPascoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Crop ScienceNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.USDA-ARS (United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service)RaleighUSA

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