Physiological traits related to drought tolerance in tall fescue

Abstract

The physiological basis of genetic variation in drought response and its association with yield and related indices is not clear in tall fescue. In this study thirty genotypes of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) were sampled from a polycross population and evaluated under two levels of irrigation in 2010 (normal and intense stress) and 2011 (normal and mild stress). Physiological traits including relative water content (RWC), total chlorophyll (TChl), chlorophyll a (Chla), chlorophyll b (Chlb), Chla/Chlb, carotenoids (Car), TChl/Car and proline content along with forage yield, agro-morpholgical traits and selection indices (stress tolerance index, STI and drought susceptibility index, DSI) were studied. Large variation and moderate to high heritability was estimated for most of the studied traits. Intense drought condition decreased chlorophyll content while mild stress significantly increased it. In the other hand intense drought stress increased Chla/b while mild stress didn’t change it. Under mild drought stress condition STI was positively correlated with RWC while under intense drought stress condition STI was positively correlated with chlorophyll content. Although proline content was significantly increased in both intense and mild drought stress conditions, no relationship was found between proline accumulation with forage yield and STI. Applications of principle component analysis for screening suitable genotypes are also discussed.

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Correspondence to Mohammad Mahdi Majidi.

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Ebrahimiyan, M., Majidi, M.M., Mirlohi, A. et al. Physiological traits related to drought tolerance in tall fescue. Euphytica 190, 401–414 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-012-0808-8

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Keywords

  • Fescue
  • Moisture stress
  • Leaf proline
  • Water potential
  • Genetic association
  • Indirect selection