Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 149–158 | Cite as

Leaf senescence and grain filling affected by post-anthesis high temperatures in two different wheat cultivars

  • Hui Zhao
  • Tingbo Dai
  • Qi Jing
  • Dong Jiang
  • Weixing CaoEmail author
Original Paper


High temperature is a major factor affecting grain yield and plant senescence in wheat growing regions of central and east China. In this study, two different wheat cultivars, Yangmai 9 with low-grain protein concentration and Xuzhou 26 with high-grain protein concentration, were exposed to different temperature regimes in growth chambers during grain filling. Four day/night temperature regimes of 34°C/22°C, 32°C/24°C, 26°C/14°C, and 24°C/16°C were established to obtain two daily temperatures of 28 and 20°C, and two diurnal day/night temperature differences of 12 and 8°C. Concentration of a lipid peroxidation product malondialdehyde (MDA), activities of the antioxidants superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), chlorophyll concentration (SPAD) in flag leaves and kernel weight were determined. Results show that activities of SOD and CAT in leaves increased markedly on 14 days after anthesis (DAA) for the high-temperature treatment (34°C/22°C) and then declined. As a result, MDA concentration in leaves increased significantly under high temperature (34°C/22°C and 32°C/24°C). Compared with optimum temperature treatment, high temperature reduced the concentration of soluble protein and SPAD values in flag leaves. Grain-filling rate increased slightly initially, but decreased significantly during late grain filling under high temperature. As a result, final grain weight was reduced markedly under high temperature. Decreases in the activities of SOD and CAT and increases in MDA concentration in leaves were more pronounced with a 12°C of day/night temperature difference when under high temperatures. Kernel weight was higher under 12°C of day/night temperature difference under optimum temperatures (24°C/16°C and 26°C/14°C). The responses to high-temperature regimes appeared to differ between the two wheat cultivars with different grain protein concentrations. It is concluded that a larger diurnal temperature difference hastened the senescence of flag leaves under high-temperature conditions, but retarded senescence under optimum temperature treatments of 26°C/14°C and 24°C/16°C.


Grain weight High temperature Leaf senescence Membrane lipid peroxidation Wheat (Triticum aestivum





Superoxide dismutate




Days after anthesis


Photosynthetic photon flux density



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30200166) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, China (BK2005212).


  1. Al-Khatib K, Paulsen GM (1984) Mode of high temperature injury to wheat during grain development. Physiol Plant 61:363–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Khatib K, Paulsen GM (1989) Enhancement of thermal injury to photosynthesis in wheat plants and thylakoids by high light intensity. Plant Physiol 90:1041–1048PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bai BZ (1994) Plant physiology. China Science Press, Beijing, pp 89–90 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  4. Bai BZ, Tang XJ (1993) Plant physiology testing technology. China Science Press, Beijing, pp. 99–100, 156–157 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. Bowler C, Van Montagu M, Inze D (1992) Superoxide dismutase and stress tolerance. Ann Rev Plant Physio Plant Mol Biol 43:83–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dhindsa RS, Matowe W (1981) Drought tolerance in two mosses: correlated with enzymatic defense against lipid peroxidation. J Exp Bot 32:79–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dhindsa RA, Plumb-Dhindsa P, Thorpe TA (1981) Leaf senescence correlated with increased permeability and lipid peroxidation, and decreased levels of superoxide dismutase and catalase. J Exp Bot 126:93–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dupont FM, Altenbach SB (2003) Molecular and biochemical impacts of environmental factors on wheat grain development and protein synthesis. J Cereal Sci 38:133–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ellen J (1987) Effects of plant density and nitrogen fertilization in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.): I. Production pattern and grain yield. Neth J Agr Sci 35:137–153Google Scholar
  10. Elstner EF (1982) Oxygen activation and oxygen toxicity. Ann Rev Plant Physio 33:73–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Giannopolitis CN, Ries SK (1977) Superoxide dismutase. I. Occurrence in higher plants. Plant Physiol 59:309–314Google Scholar
  12. Guo TC, Wang CY, Zhu YJ, Wang HC, Li JX, Zhou JZ (1998) Effects of high temperature on the senescence of root and top-part of wheat plant in the later stage. Acta Agron Sin 24(6):957–962 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  13. Halliwell B, Gutteridge JMC (1989) Free radicals in biology and medicine, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  14. Harding SA, Guikema JA, Paulsen GM (1990) Photosynthetic decline from high temperature stress during maturation of wheat. I. Interaction with senescence processes. Plant Physiol 92:648–653Google Scholar
  15. Huang BR, Liu XZ, Xu QZ (2001) Supraoptimal soil temperature induced oxidative stress in leaves of creeping bentgrass cultivars differing in heat tolerance. Crop Sci 41:430–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kato M, Shimizu S (1987) Chlorophyll metabolism in higher plants. VII. Chlorophyll degradation in senescing tobacco leaves: phenolic-dependent peroxidative degradation. Can J Bot 65:729–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Levitt J (1980) Responses of plants to environmental stress, 2nd edn. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Liu P, Guo WS, Pu HC, Feng CN, Zhu XK, Peng YX (2005) Effects of high temperature during grain filling period on antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxidation in flag leaves of wheat. Sci Agric Sin 38:2403–2407 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  19. Liu X, Huang B (2000) Heat stress injury in relation to membrane lipid peroxidation in creeping bentgrass. Crop Sci 40:503–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. North Wheat Dry-hot Wind Research Group (1998) Wheat dry-hot wind. Weather Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  21. Paulsen GM (1994) High temperature responses of crop plants. In: Boote KJ et al (eds) Physiology and determination of crop yield. ASA, CASSA, and SSSA, Madison, WIGoogle Scholar
  22. Peng CL, Ou ZY, Liu N, Lin GZ (2005) Response to high temperature in flag leaves of super high-yielding rice Pei’ai 64S/E32 and Liangyoupeijiu. Rice Sci 12(3):179–186Google Scholar
  23. Plaut Z, Butow BJ, Blumenthal CS, Wrigley CW (2004) Transport of dry matter into developing wheat kernels and its contribution to grain yield under post-anthesis water deficit and elevated temperature. Field Crops Res 86:185–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Randall PJ, Moss HJ (1990) Some effects of temperature regime during grain filling on wheat quality. J Agric Res 41:603–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rawson HM, Hindmarsh JH, Fisher RA, Stockman YM (1983) Changes in leaf photosynthesis with plant ontogeny and relationships with yield per ear in wheat cultivars and 120 progeny. Aust J Plant Physiol 10:503–514Google Scholar
  26. Reynolds MP, Balota M, Delgado MIB, Amani I, Fischer RA (1994) Physiological and morphological traits associated with spring wheat yield under hot, irrigated conditions. Aust J Plant Physiol 21:717–730Google Scholar
  27. Shah NH, Paulsen1 GM (2003) Interaction of drought and high temperature on photosynthesis and grain-filling of wheat. Plant Soil 257:219–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Simon EW (1974) Phospholipids and plant membrane permeability. New Phytol 73:377–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Simpson GM (1968) Association between grain yield per plant and photosynthetic area above the flag-leaf node in wheat. Can J Plant Sci 48:253–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stone PJ, Nicolas ME (1994) Wheat cultivars vary widely their responses of grain yield and quality to short periods of post-anthesis heat stress. Aust J Plant Physiol 21:887–900CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tewari AK, Tripathy BC (1998) Temperature-stress-induced impairment of chlorophyll biosynthetic reactions in cucumber and wheat. Plant Physiol 117:851–858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wardlaw IF (1994) The effect of high temperature on kernel development in wheat: variability related to pre-heading and post-anthesis conditions. Aust J Plant Physiol 21:731–739Google Scholar
  33. Zhao SJ, Xu ZC, Zou Q, Meng QW (1994) Improvement of method for measurement of malondialdehvdein plant tissues. Plant Physiol Commun 30:207–210 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hui Zhao
    • 1
  • Tingbo Dai
    • 1
  • Qi Jing
    • 1
  • Dong Jiang
    • 1
  • Weixing Cao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Crop Growth Regulation of Ministry of AgricultureNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjing, JiangsuPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations