, Volume 168, Issue 3, pp 303–310 | Cite as

Grain dormancy in fixed lines of white-grained wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown under controlled environmental conditions

  • Lee T. HickeyEmail author
  • Mark J. Dieters
  • Ian H. DeLacy
  • Olena Y. Kravchuk
  • Daryl J. Mares
  • Phillip M. Banks


Pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) can be a significant problem, causing deleterious effects on grain quality. However, the adverse impacts of PHS can be reduced by introgressing genes controlling grain dormancy into white-grained bread wheat. Screening for grain dormancy typically involves germination testing of harvest-ripe grain grown in a glasshouse or field. However, the more uniform environmental conditions provided by temperature controlled glasshouses (i.e. controlled environmental conditions—CEC) may provide significant benefits for the assessment of grain dormancy. In this study, the dormancy phenotype of grain grown under CEC incorporating an extended photoperiod, was compared with 2 years of data from field grown material. Four dormant double haploid lines (derived from SW95-50213 and AUS1408) and two locally adapted non-dormant cultivars EGA Gregory and EGA Wills were compared in three replicated experiments grown under CEC (22 ± 3°C and 24 h photoperiod). The germination response of harvest-ripe grain was examined to assess the expression of grain dormancy. Two measures of germination, the predicted time to 50% germination (G 50) and a weighted germination index, both clearly differentiated dormant and non-dormant lines grown under CEC. In addition, levels of grain dormancy were similar to field-grown plants. These results demonstrated that CEC with an extended photoperiod can be used for rapid and reliable characterisation of grain dormancy in fixed lines of bread wheat.


Controlled temperature glasshouse Extended photoperiod Germination index Germination response Phenotypic screen Pre-harvest sprouting Wheat breeding 



This work was supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation of Australia by providing an Undergraduate Honours Scholarship and was a collaborative project between the University of Queensland and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. The authors also wish to acknowledge the valuable assistance of Associate Professor Stephen Adkins for use of his laboratory and equipment, Dr. Christopher Lambrides for detailed comments on early drafts of this manuscript, and support provided by the glasshouse managers at the St. Lucia campus of The University of Queensland.


  1. Amano Y, Torada A (2002) Breeding of white-grained wheats for Japan. Euphytica 126:83–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biddulph TB, Mares DJ, Plummer JA, Setter TL (2005) Drought and high temperature increases preharvest sprouting tolerance in a genotype without grain dormancy. Euphytica 143:277–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Clarke FR, Knox RE, DePauw RM (2005) Expression of dormancy in a spring wheat cross grown in field and controlled environment conditions. Euphytica 143:297–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dobson AJ (2002) An introduction to generalized linear models, 2nd edn. Chapman and Hall/CRC, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  5. Flintham JE, Gale MD (1996) Dormancy gene maps in homoeologous cereal genomes. In: Noda K and Mares DJ (eds) Proceedings of the seventh international symposium on pre-harvest sprouting in cereals 1995, Center for Academic Societies Japan, Osaka, pp 143–150Google Scholar
  6. Gale MD (1989) The genetics of preharvest sprouting in cereals, particularly in wheat. In: Derera N (ed) Pre-harvest field sprouting in cereals. CRC Press Inc., Boca Raton, pp 85–110Google Scholar
  7. Henry RJ, Brennan PS (1988) Dormancy breaking procedures and the breeding of white-grained wheat with resistance to pre-harvest sprouting. Euphytica 39:161–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hunter M (2005) Root and water management system for potted plants. Patent Cooperation Treaty, international publication number WO 2005/058016 A1Google Scholar
  9. Kammholz SJ, Campbell AW, Sutherland MW, Hollamby GJ, Martin PJ, Eastwood RF, Barclay I, Wilson RE, Brennan PS, Sheppard JA (2001) Establishment and characterisation of wheat genetic mapping populations. Aust J Agric Res 52:1079–1088CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kato K, Nakamura W, Tabiki T, Miura H, Sawada S (2001) Detection of loci controlling grain dormancy in group 4 chromosomes of wheat and comparative mapping with rice and barley genomes. Theor Appl Genet 102:980–985CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kottearachchi NS, Uchino N, Kato K, Miura H (2006) Increased grain dormancy in white-grained wheat by introgression of preharvest sprouting tolerance QTLs. Euphytica 152:421–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mares DJ (1983) Preservation of dormancy in freshly harvested wheat-grain. Aust J Agric Res 34:33–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mares DJ (1984) Temperature-dependence of germinability of wheat (Triticum-Aestivum L.) grain in relation to pre-harvest sprouting. Aust J Agric Res 35:115–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mares DJ (1993) Preharvest sprouting in wheat: influence of cultivar, rainfall and temperature during grain ripening. Aust J Agric Res 44:1259–1272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mares DJ, Mrva K (2001) Mapping quantitative trait loci associated with variation in grain dormancy in Australian wheat. Aust J Agric Res 52:1257–1265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mares D, Mrva K, Tan MK, Sharp P (2002) Dormancy in white-grained wheat: progress towards identification of genes and molecular markers. Euphytica 126:47–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mares D, Mrva K, Cheong J, Williams K, Watson B, Storlie E, Sutherland M, Zou Y (2005) A QTL located on chromosome 4A associated with dormancy in white- and red-grained wheats of diverse origin. Theor Appl Genet 111:1357–1364PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McCaig TN, DePauw RM (1992) Breeding for preharvest sprouting tolerance in white-grain-coat spring wheat. Crop Sci 32:19–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Miralles DJ, Slafer GA, Richards RA, Rawson HM (2003) Quantitative developmental response to the length of exposure to long photoperiod in wheat and barley. J Agric Sci 141:159–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Tan MK, Sharp PJ, Lu MQ, Howes N (2006) Genetics of grain dormancy in a white wheat. Aust J Agric Res 57:1157–1165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Torada A, Ikeguchi S, Koike M (2005) Mapping and validation of PCR-based markers associated with a major QTL for grain dormancy in wheat. Euphytica 143:251–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Walker-Simmons M (1988) Enhancement of ABA responsiveness in wheat embryos by high-temperature. Plant Cell Environ 11:769–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee T. Hickey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark J. Dieters
    • 1
  • Ian H. DeLacy
    • 1
  • Olena Y. Kravchuk
    • 1
  • Daryl J. Mares
    • 2
  • Phillip M. Banks
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Land, Crop and Food SciencesUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Agriculture, Food and WineUniversity of AdelaideGlen OsmondAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Primary Industries and FisheriesLeslie Research CentreToowoombaAustralia

Personalised recommendations