Effects of waterlogging stress on the physiological response and grain-filling characteristics of spring maize (Zea mays L.) under field conditions

  • Lixin Tian
  • Wenshuang Bi
  • Xuan Liu
  • Lei Sun
  • Jing LiEmail author
Original Article


A field experiment was implemented to discuss the effects of waterlogging and subsurface waterlogging stress on the grain yield, grain-filling characteristics, superoxide anion (\({\text{O}}_{2}^{ \cdot - }\)) content, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, antioxidant enzyme activity, proline, soluble protein content and SPAD value of the spring maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids “Demeiya1” (DMY1) and “Keyu16” (KY16). The waterlogging and subsurface waterlogging treatments were conducted for different durations (3, 6, and 9 days and 5, 10, and 15 days, respectively) at the seedling (V3), jointing (V6), and tasseling (VT) stages. The results showed that the most significant effects of waterlogging and subsurface waterlogging stress occurred at the V3 stage, followed by the V6 stage and then VT stage. Waterlogging and subsurface waterlogging caused a decline in grain filling, which resulted in a decline in grain weight and ultimately caused an obvious decrease in yield. The content of \({\text{O}}_{2}^{ \cdot - }\) and H2O2 as well as MDA increased with the prolongation of the duration of waterlogging and subsurface waterlogging, which caused an up-regulation of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT) activities, as well as increased proline and soluble protein contents and decreased SPAD value. In addition, we also demonstrated that KY16 is more sensitive than DMY1 to waterlogging and subsurface waterlogging.


Waterlogging in the field Spring maize Grain-filling Antioxidant enzyme system Osmotic adjustable substances 



We are grateful for grants received from the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2017YFD0300400).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Supplementary material

11738_2019_2859_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1630 kb)


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of AgronomyNortheast Agricultural UniversityHarbinChina
  2. 2.Institute of Soil Fertilizer and Environment ResourcesHeilongjiang Academy of Agricultural SciencesHarbinChina

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