Cultivation modes and deficit irrigation strategies to improve 13C carbon isotope, photosynthesis, and winter wheat productivity in semi-arid regions

  • Shahzad Ali
  • Yueyue Xu
  • Xiangcheng Ma
  • Malak Henchiri
  • Tie Cai
  • Xiaolong Ren
  • Jiahua ZhangEmail author
  • Zhikuan JiaEmail author
Research Article


Determining the effect of ridge-furrow cultivation mode on 13C carbon isotope discrimination, photosynthetic capacity, and leaf gas exchange characteristics of winter wheat leaves will help to increase wheat production. To verify these effects of cultivation modes with deficit irrigation will provide scientific basis for determining water-saving strategy. Therefore, a mobile rainproof shelter was used to explore the potential benefit of two cultivation modes: (1) the ridge-furrow (RF) precipitation system and (2) traditional flat planting (TF) with two deficit irrigation levels (150, 75 mm) and three precipitation levels (275 mm, 200 mm, 125 mm) were tested in this study. Plastic film mulching on ridges had significant effects on rainwater collection and improved soil water retention. Analysis of the light-response curve showed that RF2150 treatment significantly increased flag leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci), transpiration rate (Tr), leaf WUE, and total contents of chlorophyll ab of wheat at flowering stage than that of TF planting. The RF system significantly increases maximum net photosynthetic rate (Pnmax) (16.2%), light saturation points (LSP) (6.7%), and Pn under CO2-response curves compared to the TF cultivation across the two irrigation and three simulated rainfall levels. The RF system significantly increased Δ13C (0.7%) and caused a notable increase in the intercellular to ambient CO2 concentration ratio (7.6%), dry matter translocation (54.9%), and grain yield plant−1 (19%) compared to the TF planting. Furthermore, Δ13C was significantly positively correlated with Pn, Gs, Ci/Ca, Ci, Tr, Pnmax, LSP, and grain yield. This study suggested that the RF2150 treatment was the best water-saving technique because it increased soil water content, Δ13C, biomass, grain yield, and leaf WUE.


Cultivation technique Dry matter translocation Rainfall simulator Carbon isotope discrimination Semi-arid regions 



We appreciate the helpful comments of two reviewers.

Funding information

This work was supported by China Support Program (2012BAD09B03) for Dry-land Farming in the 12th 5-year plan period, the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Project Funding (2018M642614), the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest under Grant (201303104), and the Key basic research project of Shandong natural science foundation of China (ZR2017ZB0422), and “Taishan Scholar” project of Shandong Province.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahzad Ali
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yueyue Xu
    • 2
  • Xiangcheng Ma
    • 2
  • Malak Henchiri
    • 1
  • Tie Cai
    • 2
  • Xiaolong Ren
    • 2
  • Jiahua Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhikuan Jia
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Computer Science and Technology, Agricultural and Climate ChangingQingdao UniversityQingdaoChina
  2. 2.College of AgronomyNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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