Evaluation of physiological markers for assessing drought tolerance and yield potential in bread wheat

Tauqeer Ahmad Yasir, Allah Wasaya, Mubshar Hussain, Muhammad Ijaz, Muhammad Farooq, Omer Farooq, Ahmad Nawaz, Yin Gang Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon isotope discrimination (Δ) has been recognized as a valuable phenotyping tool in wheat breeding. However, technical expertise and analysis cost restrict its large-scale use. We examined the associations of ash content (AC), minerals content (Ca, K, Mg, Fe and Mn) and leaf chlorophyll content (Chl) with grain Δ and grain yield (GY) to assess their potential as substitute to grain Δ. We evaluated 49 wheat genotypes under two water deficit regimes (W120 and W200) in a rain-out shelter. Leaf chlorophyll content (Chl) was strongly correlated with grain Δ and GY under moderate water deficit regime (W200). Significant and negative correlations (P < 0.01) of AC and potassium concentration (K) with grain Δ, and between AC and GY was observed under both water regimes, while manganese concentration (Mn) was negatively correlated with grain Δ under W120 regime only and magnesium concentration (Mg) correlated negatively under the W200 regime only. Grain Δ was correlated (P < 0.01) positively with photosynthesis rate (A), stomatal conductance (gs) and GY, while correlated negatively (P < 0.01) with intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) under both water regimes. Results confirm the role of grain Δ as an indirect selection criterion for drought tolerance under a wide range of drought conditions. Additionally, Chl is the most suitable trait to predict yield under moderate water deficit conditions. AC and K concentration in grain proved potentially useful and economical alternative criterion to grain Δ in the evaluation of differences in yield potential and drought tolerance in wheat under drought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163–1174
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiology and Molecular Biology of Plants
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


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