Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-qcsxw Total loading time: 0.297 Render date: 2022-08-08T05:04:17.128Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Wheat seedlings growth response to water deficiency and how it correlates with adult plant tolerance to drought

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 April 2014

Maize Research Institute, ‘Zemun Polje’, Slobodana Bajića 1, 11185 Belgrade, Serbia
Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, Maksima Gorkog 30, Novi Sad 21000, Serbia
Center for Agricultural and Technological Research, Zajecar, Grljanski put bb, 19000 Zajecar, Serbia
Maize Research Institute, ‘Zemun Polje’, Slobodana Bajića 1, 11185 Belgrade, Serbia
Institute for Plant Protection and Environment, Teodora Drajzera 9, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Institute of Field Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, Nemanjina 6, 11080 Belgrade, Serbia
*To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email:


Improving resistance to water and osmotic stresses at the seedling stage is becoming a much more important target for wheat breeders due to an increase in the frequency and severity of drought occurrences at the crop establishment and tillering phases in many wheat growing areas of the world. Ninety-six diverse wheat genotypes were laboratory tested for germination and growth response under osmotic stress induced by polyethylene glycol (PEG). Germination percentage, mean germination time, coleoptile length, shoot length and shoot growth rate were compared under stress (−0·4 MPa) and control (0·0 MPa) conditions. The same genotypes were previously grown in field trials exposed to drought stress during the anthesis and/or grain filling growth stage along with control (optimum) conditions. Grain yield (GY) and 19 other traits of agronomic importance (earliness, stem-related traits, number of kernels, mass of 1000 grains, etc.) were recorded. All seedling traits under PEG-induced water stress showed the highest relationship with the stem and stem-related traits of adult plants. To study the correlation between stress tolerance in the seedling and reproductive stages, three stress indices (tolerance index (TOL), stress susceptibility index (SSI) and stress tolerance index (STI)) for the seedling traits and GY under pre- and post-anthesis drought stress were calculated, based on a mean trait value obtained under stress and the corresponding trait value under control conditions. The ranking of the genotypes based on TOL and STI from seedling traits was found in most cases to be significantly correlated with the ranking of genotypes based on TOL and STI from GY, respectively.

Crops and Soils Research Papers
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Blum, A. (1988). Plant Breeding for Stress Environments. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.Google Scholar
Blum, A. (1996). Crop responses to drought and the interpretation of adaptation. Plant Growth Regulation 20, 135148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blum, A. (1998). Improving wheat grain filling under stress by stem reserve mobilisation. Euphytica 100, 7783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blum, A., Sinmena, B. & Ziv, O. (1980). An evaluation of seed and seedling drought tolerance screening tests in wheat. Euphytica 29, 727736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blum, A., Ramaiah, S., Kanemasu, E. T. & Paulsen, G. M. (1990). Wheat recovery from drought stress at the tillering stage of development. Field Crops Research 24, 6785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Borrell, A. K., Incoll, L. D. & Dalling, M. J. (1993). The influence of the Rht1 and Rht2 alleles on the deposition and use of stem reserve in wheat. Annals of Botany 71, 317326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Butler, J. D., Byrne, P. F., Mohammadi, V., Chapman, P. L. & Haley, S. D. (2005). Agronomic performance of Rht alleles in a spring wheat population across a range of moisture levels. Crop Science 45, 939947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Calderini, D. F., Reynolds, M. P. & Slafer, G. A. (1999). Genetic gains in wheat yield and main physiological changes associated with them during the 20th century. In Wheat: Ecology and Physiology of Yield Determination (Eds Satorre, E. H. & Slafer, G. A.), pp. 351377. New York: Food Products Press.Google Scholar
Chapman, S. C. (2008). Use of crop models to understand genotype by environment interactions for drought in real-world and simulated plant breeding trials. Euphytica 161, 195208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dhanda, S. S., Sethi, G. S. & Behl, R. K. (2004). Indices of drought tolerance in wheat genotypes at early stages of plant growth. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 190, 612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dodig, D., Zorić, M., Knežević, D., King, S. R. & Šurlan-Momirović, G. (2008). Genotype×environment interaction for wheat yield in different drought stress conditions and agronomic traits suitable for selection. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 59, 536545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dodig, D., Zorić, M., Kobiljski, B., Šurlan-Momirović, G. & Quarrie, S. A. (2010). Assessing drought tolerance and regional patterns of genetic diversity among spring and winter bread wheat using simple sequence repeats and phenotypic data. Crop and Pasture Science 61, 812824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dodig, D., Barnes, J., Kobiljski, B. & Quarrie, S. (2011). Traits associated with relocation of resources during grain filling in defoliated bread wheat varieties: phenotypic and genetic analyses. In Book of Abstracts of the Annual Main Meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology, 1–4 July 2011, Glasgow, UK (Ed. Society for Experimental Biology), p. 193. London: Society for Experimental Biology.Google Scholar
Duggan, B. L., Richards, R. A. & Van Herwaarden, A. F. (2005). Agronomic evaluation of a tiller inhibition gene (tin) in wheat. II. Growth and partitioning of assimilate. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 56, 179186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ellis, R. H. & Roberts, E. H. (1981). The quantification of ageing and survival in orthodox seeds. Seed Science and Technology 9, 373409.Google Scholar
FAO (2003). Agriculture, Food and Water. A Contribution to the World Water Development Report. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
Fernandez, G. C. J. (1992). Effective selection criteria for assessing stress tolerance. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Adaptation of Vegetables and Other Food Crops in Temperature and Water Stress (Ed. Kuo, C. G.), pp. 257270. Tainan, Taiwan: Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre.Google Scholar
Fischer, R. A. & Maurer, R. (1978). Drought resistance in spring wheat cultivars: I. Grain yield responses. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 29, 897912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fischer, R. A. & Turner, N. C. (1978). Plant productivity in the arid and semiarid zones. Annual Review of Plant Physiology 29, 277317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
González, Á. & Ayerbe, L. (2011). Response of coleoptiles to water deficit: growth, turgor maintenance and osmotic adjustment in barley plants (Hordeum vulgare L.). Agricultural Sciences 2, 159166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grzesiak, M. T., Marcińska, I., Janowiak, F., Rzepka, A. & Hura, T. (2012). The relationship between seedling growth and grain yield under drought conditions in maize and triticale genotypes. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 34, 17571764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iqbal, N., Masood, A. & Khan, N. A. (2012). Analyzing the significance of defoliation in growth, photosynthetic compensation and source-sink relations. Photosynthetica 50, 161170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jones, P., Keane, E. M. & Osborne, B. A. (1998). Effects of alien cytoplasmic variation on carbon assimilation and productivity in wheat. Journal of Experimental Botany 49, 15191528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kobiljski, B., Quarrie, S. A., Denčić, S., Kirby, J. & Ivegeš, M. (2002). Genetic diversity of the Novi Sad wheat core collection revealed by microsatellites. Cellular and Molecular Biology Letters 7, 685694.Google Scholar
Kruepl, C., Hoad, S., Davies, K., Bertholdsson, N. O. & Paolini, R. (2006). Weed competitiveness. In Handbook Cereal Variety Testing for Organic Low Input Agriculture (Eds Donner, D. & Osman, A.), pp. W1W16. COST860-SUSVAR. Denmark: Risø National Laboratory.Google Scholar
Landjeva, S., Korzun, V., Stoimenova, E., Truberg, B., Ganeva, G. & Börner, A. (2008). The contribution of the gibberellin-insesitive semi-dwarfing (Rht) genes to genetic variation in wheat seedling growth in response to osmotic stress. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 146, 275286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
MacCaferri, M., Sanguineti, M. C., Demontis, A., El-Ahmed, A., Del Moral, L. G., Maalouf, F., Nachit, M., Nserallah, N., Ouabbou, H., Rhouma, S., Royo, C., Villegas, D. & Tuberosa, R. (2011). Association mapping in durum wheat grown across a broad range of water regimes. Journal of Experimental Botany 62, 409438.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mastrangelo, A. M., Mazzucotelli, E., Guerra, D., De Vita, P. & Cattivelli, L. (2012). Improvement of drought resistance in crops: from conventional breeding to genomic selection. In Crop Stress and its Management: Perspectives and Strategies (Eds Venkateswarlu, B., Shanker, A. K., Shanker, C. & Maheswari, M.), pp. 225259. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matsui, T., Inanaga, S., Shimotashiro, T., An, P. & Sugimoto, Y. (2002). Morphological characters related to varietal differences in tolerance to deep sowing in wheat. Plant Production Science 5, 169174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Michel, B. E. & Kaufmann, M. R. (1973). The Osmotic potential of polyethylene glycol 6000. Plant Physiology 51, 914916.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Morgan, J. M. (1988). The use of coleoptile responses to water stress to differentiate wheat genotypes for osmoregulation, growth and yield. Annals of Botany 62, 193198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moud, A. M. & Maghsoudi, K. (2008). Application of coleoptile growth response method to differentiate osmoregulation capability of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars. Research Journal of Agronomy 2, 3643.Google Scholar
Pantuwan, G., Fukai, S., Cooper, M., Rajatasereekul, S. & O'Toole, J. C. (2002). Yield response of rice genotypes to different types of drought under rainfed lowlands: I. Grain yield and yield components. Field Crops Research 73, 153168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parry, M. A. J., Flexas, J. & Medrano, H. (2005). Prospects for crop production under drought: research priorities and future directions. Annals of Applied Biology 147, 211226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pfeiffer, W. H., Trethowan, R. M., Van Ginkel, M., Ortiz-Monasterio, I. & Rajaram, S. (2005). Breeding for abiotic stress tolerance in wheat. In Abiotic Stresses: Plant Resistance through Breeding and Molecular Approaches (Eds Ashraf, M. & Harris, P. J. C.), pp. 401489. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc.Google Scholar
Prasad, P. V. V., Pisipati, S. R., Momčilović, I. & Ristić, Z. (2011). Independent and combined effects of high temperature and drought stress during grain filling on plant yield and chloroplast EF-Tu expression in spring wheat. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 197, 430441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Qi, M. Q. & Redmann, R. E. (1993). Seed germination and seedling survival of C3 and C4 grasses under water stress. Journal of Arid Environments 24, 227285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
R Development Core Team (2013). R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Reference Index. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.Google Scholar
Rebetzke, J. G., Richards, R. A., Sirault, X. R. R. & Morrison, A. D. (2004). Genetic analysis of coleoptiles length and diameter in wheat. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 55, 733743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rebetzke, G. J., Ellis, M. H., Bonnett, D. G. & Richards, R. A. (2007). Molecular mapping of genes for coleoptile growth in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 114, 11731183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Regan, K. L., Whan, B. R. & Turner, N. C. (1993). Evaluation of chemical desiccation as a selection technique for drought resistance in a dryland wheat breeding program. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 44, 16831691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reynolds, M. P., Mujeeb-Kazi, A. & Sawkins, M. (2005). Prospects for utilising plant-adaptive mechanisms to improve wheat and other crops in drought- and salinity-prone environments. Annals of Applied Biology 146, 239259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rizza, F., Badeck, F. W., Cattivelli, L., Lidestri, O., Di Fonzo, N. & Stanca, A. M. (2004). Use of a water stress index to identify barley genotypes adapted to rainfed and irrigated conditions. Crop Science 44, 21272137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosielle, A. A. & Hamblin, J. (1981). Theoretical aspects of selection for yield in stress and non-stress environments. Crop Science 21, 943946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosyara, U. R., Ghimire, A. A., Subedi, S. & Sharma, R. C. (2009). Variation in South Asian wheat germplasm for seedling drought tolerance traits. Plant Genetic Resources 7, 8893.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Royo, C., Álvaro, F., Martos, V., Ramdani, A., Isidro, J., Villegas, D. & García Del Moral, L. F. (2007). Genetic changes in durum wheat yield components and associated traits in Italy and Spain during the 20th century. Euphytica 155, 259270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Singh, B. B., Mai-Kodomi, Y. & Terao, T. (1999). A simple screening method for drought tolerance in cowpea. Indian Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding 59, 211220.Google Scholar
Sio-Se Mardeh, A., Ahmadi, A., Poustini, K. & Mohammadi, V. (2006). Evaluation of drought resistance indices under various environmental conditions. Field Crops Research 98, 222229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Talebi, R., Fayaz, F. & Naji, A. M. (2009). Effective selection criteria for assessing drought stress tolerance in durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.). General and Applied Plant Physiology 35, 6474.Google Scholar
Tuberosa, R., Sanguineti, M. C., Landi, P., Giuliani, M. M., Salvi, S. & Conti, S. (2002). Identification of QTLs for root characteristics in maize grown in hydroponics and analysis of their overlap with QTLs for grain yield in the field at two water regimes. Plant Molecular Biology 48, 697712.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Voltas, J., Lopez-Corcoles, H. & Borras, G. (2005). Use of biplot analysis and factorial regression for the investigation of superior genotypes in multi-environment trials. European Journal of Agronomy 22, 309324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Xiping, D., Lun, S. & Shinobu, I. (1999). Effect of water stress on the seedling establishment of spring wheat. In Innovation of Agricultural Engineering Technologies for the 21st Century. Proceedings of the 99th International Conference on Agricultural Engineering, pp. 276280. Beijing, China: China Agricultural University Press.Google Scholar
Yan, W. & Kang, M. S. (2003). GGE Biplot Analysis: A Graphical Tool for Breeders, Geneticists and Agronomists. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.Google Scholar
Zadoks, J. C., Chang, T. T. & Konzak, C. F. (1974). A decimal code for the growth stages of cereals. Weed Research 14, 415421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Wheat seedlings growth response to water deficiency and how it correlates with adult plant tolerance to drought
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Wheat seedlings growth response to water deficiency and how it correlates with adult plant tolerance to drought
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Wheat seedlings growth response to water deficiency and how it correlates with adult plant tolerance to drought
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *