Variation in tolerance to radiant frost at reproductive stages in field pea germplasm
Radiant frost is a major abiotic stress, particularly at the reproductive stage, in field pea (Pisum sativum L.) grown in Mediterranean environments. Here, response to frost was studied for flowering stage (FS) organs (buds, flowers and set pods) and pod development stage (PDS) organs (flat, swollen and mature pods) under controlled conditions, with plants exposed to a minimum temperature of –4.8°C for 4 h. This frost treatment adversely affected seed yield through (i) abortion of buds, flowers and set pods (ii) death of pods and (iii) reduction in seed size. FS organs were more sensitive to frost than PDS organs. Genetic variation was observed among 83 accessions collected from 34 countries worldwide for survival of FS buds, flowers and set pods. In 60 of 83 accessions, no buds, flowers or set pods survived the frost treatment. Five accessions: ATC 104 (origin: United Kingdom), ATC 377 (Estonia), ATC 968 (Italy), ATC 3992 (Kazakhstan) and ATC 4204 (China), showed the highest frost tolerance of FS organs and lowest numbers of abnormal seeds. The frost tolerant accessions identified in this study may be useful as parents for breeding field pea varieties that will be less likely to suffer yield loss due to radiant frost during the reproductive stage.
KeywordsField pea Flowering stage Pod development stage Radiant frost Reproductive frost tolerance
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