Application of Cytokinins to Flowers to Increase Pod Set in Lupinus angustifolius L.

Craig Atkins, A. Pigeaire

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Exogenous application of a 2 mol m-3 buffered solution of N6-benzylamninopurine (BAP) to flowers on the main stem inflorescence of Lupinus angustifolius L. cv. Danja profoundly altered reproductive development by reducing post-anthesis abscission of flowers and small pods. The same effect of BAP was recorded for a mutant (abs-) of cv. Danja, in which organ abscission was completely absent, indicating that localized application of cytokinin enhanced reproductive development rather than reduced pedicel abscission per se in the parent line. Application to pedicel and sepals at the open flower stage completely eliminated flower abortion on the main inflorescence, compared with less than 50% pod initiation on untreated inflorescences, more than doubled final pod yield on the main inflorescence and increased the number of mature pods on the whole plant by 33%. A single dose of BAP, to an inflorescence which bore flowers ranging in their stage of development from post-anthesis to immature flower buds, significantly increased the number of pods initiated and at final harvest, measured on a per plant basis. A number of synthetic and naturally occurring cytokinins, including zeatin riboside and dihydrozeatin riboside, were also effective. BAP application induced a longer period of flowering and resulted in a considerably thickened raceme. This was most marked at the distal end which showed enhanced cambial development, and secondary vascularization compared with untreated controls. The positive effects of BAP application on pod initiation were not restricted to cv. Danja but were found also for cv. Warrah and cv. Gungurru, both of which have enhanced pod set compared with Danja. Enhanced pod initiation on the main inflorescence generally reduced the number of pods developing on branch inflorescences. Additional application of BAP to flowers on branches, even at the most opportune time and at the most effective site, did not enhance pod initiation and, in some cases, significantly reduced pod set on these branches. The data indicate that it would be very difficult to exploit the positive effect of exogenous cytokinin application on pod set in field crops of lupin. However, selection or genetic engineering of plants with higher levels of endogenous cytokinins in flowers or flower parts at anthesis may provide a means by which to assess the importance of this factor in determining yield stability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1799-1819
    JournalCrop and Pasture Science
    Publication statusPublished - 1993


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