The Physiology of Reproductive-Stage Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Cereals

  • Rudy Dolferus
  • Nicola Powell
  • Xuemei JI
  • Rudabe Ravash
  • Jane Edlington
  • Sandra Oliver
  • Joost Van Dongen
  • Behrouz Shiran


In cereal crops, during the critical time of flowering, abiotic stresses cause massive yield reductions. Attempts to solve the problem using classical breeding methods have so far been unsuccessful. This is primarily due to the lack of focused, reliable screening procedures and the fact that yield components are controlled by complex gene networks. Although genetic approaches require the use of germplasm that shows a contrasting behaviour for a trait of interest, physiological and molecular studies are often based on plant lines with unknown ranking of these traits (e.g. abiotic stress tolerance). We have taken the approach to first develop a reliable and reproducible screening method to rank germplasm in terms of reproductive-stage abiotic stress tolerance. The high sensitivity of the young microspore stage of pollen development was used as a target for our screening method, enabling us to identify germplasm with higher resilience to cold (rice) and drought (wheat). This material was then used in comparative studies to identify differences in the tolerant and sensitive response to abiotic stress. In this chapter, we discuss the physiological differences between tolerant and sensitive germplasm and how this can be exploited to develop cereal lines with improved reproductive stage abiotic stress tolerance.


Drought Stress Pollen Development Pollen Fertility Abiotic Stress Tolerance Abiotic Stress Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research presented in this chapter was supported by the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation (wheat; GRDC grants CSP9, CSP00130 and CSP00143) and the Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (rice; RIRDC grant US-143A). The authors thank Dr Alisdair Fernie (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany) for the use of the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry platform to measure rice anther metabolites.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudy Dolferus
    • 1
  • Nicola Powell
    • 1
  • Xuemei JI
    • 1
  • Rudabe Ravash
    • 2
  • Jane Edlington
    • 1
  • Sandra Oliver
    • 1
  • Joost Van Dongen
    • 3
  • Behrouz Shiran
    • 2
  1. 1.division of Plant IndustryCSIROCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureShahrekord UniversityShahrekordIran
  3. 3.division of Molecular Plant PhysiologyMax Planck InstituteGolmGermany

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