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Reduced abscisic acid content is responsible for enhanced sucrose accumulation by potassium nutrition in vegetable soybean seeds


In order to understand the physiological mechanism of potassium (K) application in enhancing sugar content of vegetable soybean seeds, pot experiments were conducted in 2014 and 2015 with two vegetable soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) cultivars (c.v. Zhongkemaodou 1 and c.v. 121) under normal rate of nitrogen and phosphorus application. Three potassium (K) fertilization treatments were imposed: No K application (K0), 120 kg K2SO4 ha−1 at seeding (K1), and 120 kg K2SO4 ha−1 at seedling + 1% K2SO4 foliar application at flowering (K2). Contents of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), gibberellins (GA), cytokinins (ZR) and abscisic acid (ABA) in seeds were determined from 4 to 8 weeks after flowering. K fertilization increased the contents of IAA, GA, ZR, soluble sugar, sucrose and fresh pod yield, but reduced ABA content consistently. When the contents of soluble sugar and sucrose reached the highest level at 7 weeks after flowering for the 2 cultivars, the contents of IAA、GA、ZR all reached the lowest level in general. The content of ABA in seed was negatively correlated with the sucrose content (P < 0.01, r = −0.749**, −0.768** in 2014 and −0.535**, −0.791** in 2015 for c.v.121 and c.v. Zhongkemaodou 1 respectively). The changes in ratio of the ABA to (IAA + GA + ZR) from 4 to 8 weeks after flowering affected by K application were coincident to the changes of sucrose accumulation. The reduced ratio of ABA/(IAA + GA + ZR) affected by K nutrition particularly reduced abscisic acid content plays a critical role in enhancing sucrose content, which might be a partial mechanism involved in K nutrition to improve the quality of vegetable soybean.

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This research is partially funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41471241) and Major Program of National Science and Technology of China (2016YFD0102105, 2016YFD0100201).

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Correspondence to Qiuying Zhang.

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Tu, B., Liu, C., Tian, B. et al. Reduced abscisic acid content is responsible for enhanced sucrose accumulation by potassium nutrition in vegetable soybean seeds. J Plant Res 130, 551–558 (2017).

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  • Potassium fertilization
  • Phytohormones
  • Sucrose
  • Vegetable soybean