Grain weight of durum wheat cultivars released in Italy and Spain during the 20th century as affected by source-sink manipulations
The present work analysed whether grain weight is affected by changes in source:sink ratio in twenty-four durum wheat cultivars from Italy and Spain released through the 20th century grown under Mediterranean conditions. For this purpose, a field experiment was conducted during the 2002 growing-season in southeastern Spain. Sink strength was modified by removing half of the spikelets, of one side of the spike, one week after anthesis. Spikelet trimming had different effects on both average grain weight and individual grain weight at different positions within the spike. While old cultivars did not respond positively to spikelet trimming, and appear to be mainly sink-limited, intermediate and modern cultivars from Spain increased their grain weight in response to sink reductions, suggesting co-limitation by the sink and source. On the contrary, grain weight of intermediate and modern Italian cultivars remained relatively unchanged suggesting a sink-limitation to grain yield. The differential response to source-sink manipulations observed between Italian and Spanish cultivars could be attributed to their different genetic background, which determines their level of adaptation to harsh Mediterranean environments.
Keywordsgrain weight source-sink manipulations durum wheat southeastern Spain Mediterranean conditions
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