Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 1039–1053 | Cite as

Assessment of competitive ability of two Indian wheat cultivars under ambient O3 at different developmental stages

Research Article


The concentrations of O3 are increasing, which may have potential adverse effects on crop yield. This paper deals with assessing the intraspecific variability of two wheat cultivars (PBW 343 and M 533) at different growth stages using open top chambers. Mean O3 concentrations were 50.2 and 53.2 ppb, and AOT40 values were 9 and 12.1 ppm h, respectively, in 2008–2009 and 2009–2010. Reproductive stage showed higher AOT40 values (6.9 and 9.2 ppm h) compared to vegetative (2.23 and 2.9 ppm h). Critical levels of a 3-month AOT 40 of 3 ppm h led to 6 % yield reduction in two wheat cultivars for two consecutive years. Variations in photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance (gs), Fv/Fm ratio, photosynthetic pigments, primary and secondary metabolites, morphological parameters, and yield attributes were measured at vegetative and reproductive stages. Reductions in number of leaves, leaf area, total biomass, root/shoot ratio, RGR, photosynthetic pigments, protein content, and Fv/Fm ratio in PBW 343 were more than M 533 at reproductive stage. Photosynthetic rate did not vary between the cultivars, but gs was higher in PBW 343 compared to M 533 under ambient O3. Higher total phenolics and peroxidase activity were recorded in M 533 at reproductive stage conferring higher resistance at latter age. Results of O3 resistance showed that M 533 was sensitive compared to PBW 343 during vegetative stage but developed more resistance at reproductive stage. PBW 343 with larger leaf area and high gs is more sensitive than M 533 with smaller leaf area and low gs. The study suggests that the sensitivity varied with plant growth stage, and the plant showing higher sensitivity during vegetative period developed more resistance during reproductive period due to higher defense mechanism. Though the yield reductions were same in both cultivars under ambient O3, the mechanism of acquiring the resistance is different between the cultivars.


Wheat AOT 40 Critical levels Photosynthesis Chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics Photosynthetic pigments growth Yield 



Ascorbic acid


Accumulated O3 over a threshold concentration of 40 ppb


Analysis of variance


Days after germination


Stomatal conductance


Minimal fluorescence


Maximal fluorescence


Variable fluorescence


Photosynthetic efficiency


Filtered chambers




Lipid peroxidation






Non-filtered chambers


Open plots


Open top chambers


Parts per billion






Photosynthetic rate


Photosynthetically active radiation


Relative growth rate


Water use efficiency



The authors are thankful to the Head of the Department of Botany for all the laboratory facilities and to the University Grant Commission, New Delhi and Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi for providing financial support to the work. Richa Rai is grateful to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi for awarding Research Associate fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Air Pollution and Global Climate Change, Department of BotanyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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