International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 62, Issue 12, pp 2131–2138 | Cite as

Grain development and endogenous hormones in summer maize (Zea mays L.) submitted to different light conditions

  • Jia Gao
  • Jianguo Shi
  • Shuting Dong
  • Peng Liu
  • Bin Zhao
  • Jiwang ZhangEmail author
Original Paper


Low light is a type of abiotic stress that seriously affects plant growth and production efficiency. We investigated the response mechanisms of summer maize to low light by measuring the changes in endogenous hormones in the grains and during grain filling in summer maize at different light intensities to provide a theoretical basis for the production and management of summer maize under light stress. We applied different light treatments in a field experiment as follows: S, shading from tassel stage (VT) to maturity stage (R6); CK, natural lighting in the field; and L, increasing light from VT to R6. The shading level was 60%, and the maximum illumination intensity of the increasing light treatment on cloudy days was 1600–1800 μmol m−2 s−1. Compared with the control, shading significantly increased the grain abscisic acid (ABA) content at 5–20 days after pollination and decreased the indole acetic acid (IAA), zeatin riboside (ZR), and gibberellin (GA) contents (P < 0.05). The grain-filling rate decreased under shading conditions. Meanwhile, the grain volume, grain weight, and yield all decreased; the yields in 2013 and 2014 decreased by 61 and 60%, respectively. The grain IAA, ZR, and GA contents were increased by increasing light. The grain ABA content at 5–20 days after pollination did not significantly differ from that of CK (P < 0.05). After 20 days after pollination, the ABA content decreased, the grain-filling rate and the filling duration increased, and the yield increased. However, shading after anthesis increased the grain ABA content and reduced the IAA, ZR, and GA contents. Grain growth and development were inhibited, and the yield decreased. The grain ABA content decreased; the IAA, ZR, and GA contents increased; and the yield increased after increasing light. The results indicate that different light intensities regulated the levels of grains endogenous hormones, which influenced the grain-filling rate and duration, and consequently, regulated grain weight and yield.


Summer maize Shading Increasing light Endogenous hormones Grain development 



The authors are grateful to the reviewers and editors for their constructive review and suggestions for this paper.

Funding information

This study was funded by National Natural Science Funds (31671629), The State Key Research and Development Program (2017YFD0300304), National Modern Agricultural Technology and Industry System (CARS-02-18), Funds of Shandong “Double Tops” Program (SYL2017YSTD02).


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Copyright information

© ISB 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology and College of AgronomyShandong Agricultural UniversityTaianPeople’s Republic of China

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