Tuesday, 20 May 2014

How aerobic soil conditions affect the development of rice plants

By Benoit Clerget
Senior Scientist (crop physiology)
Crop and Environmental Sciences Division, IRRI

1:15-2:15 p.m., Thursday, 22 May 2014
Havener Auditorium, IRRI


Water-saving management of rice crops generally causes yield penalties even when water content of the upper soil layer is kept above saturation. Our team conducted chronological comparative studies of the physiology of flooded and water-saturated aerobic crops in detail and found that the rate of development, measured as the rate of leaf appearance, was a lot slower under aerobic conditions. This protraction could be the factor that induces all or many of the other disparities observed between the two conditions. The next step we took was thus to further study the individual effect on the rate of leaf appearance of each of the factors that were found to vary between the two conditions or environments. We have also started to search for the physiological reason underlying the significant decrease in the rate of leaf appearance that generally occurs between the appearances of leaves 8 to 12. We expect that a better understanding of plant development and its reaction to the environment would ultimately help in efforts to breed rice varieties that have better yield potential under water-saving regimes.

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