Root System Traits and Its Relationship with Photosynthesis and Productivity in Four Maize Genotypes under Drought
The present study combined evaluations of agronomic parameters such as roots morphometry (using the WinRhizo program) and leaf gas exchange, in order to detect features in the root system which allow the maintenance of photosynthetic rates and productivity in four maize genotypes contrasting for tolerance to water deficit (WD), two tolerant (DKB 390 and BRS1055) and two sensitive (BRS 1010 and 2B710). The genotypes showed similar tolerance to dehydration of leaf tissue, but the tolerant genotypes DKB 390 and BRS1055 presented higher photosynthetic rate and yield compared to the sensitive BRS 1010 and 2B710. Nevertheless, divergent strategies of adaptation to drought among tolerant genotypes were observed. The genotype DKB 390 presented physiological mechanisms in shoots responsible for minimizing water loss, which decreases the dependence of root adjustments to increase the absorption of water. In turn, the BRS 1055 genotype showed a drought avoidance strategy by producing fine roots associated with a higher leaf area.
KeywordsWinRhizo leaf gas exchange photoassimilate root
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