Genotypic Variation in Yield, Yield Components, Root Morphology and Architecture, in Soybean in Relation to Water and Phosphorus Supply

Jin He, Yi Jin, Yan-Lei Du, Tao Wang, Neil C. Turner, Ru-Ping Yang, Kadambot H. M. Siddique, Feng-Min Li

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68 Citations (Scopus)


Water shortage and low phosphorus (P) availability limit yields in soybean. Roots play important roles in water-limited and P-deficient environment, but the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. In this study we determined the responses of four soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] genotypes [Huandsedadou (HD), Bailudou (BLD), Jindou 21 (J21), and Zhonghuang 30 (ZH)] to three P levels [applied 0 (P0), 60 (P60), and 120 (P120) mg P kg 1 dry soil to the upper 0.4 m of the soil profile] and two water treatment [well-watered (WW) and water-stressed (WS)] with special reference to root morphology and architecture, we compared yield and its components, root morphology and root architecture to find out which variety and/ or what kind of root architecture had high grain yield under P and drought stress. The results showed that water stress and low P, respectively, significantly reduced grain yield by 60 and 40%, daily water use by 66 and 31%, P accumulation by 40 and 80%, and N accumulation by 39 and 65%. The cultivar ZH with the lowest daily water use had the highest grain yield at P60 and P120 under drought. Increased root length was positively associated with N and P accumulation in both the WW and WS treatments, but not with grain yield under water and P deficits. However, in the WS treatment, high adventitious and lateral root densities were associated with high N and P uptake per unit root length which in turn was significantly and positively associated with grain yield. Our results suggest that (1) genetic variation of grain yield, daily water use, P and N accumulation, and root morphology and architecture were observed among the soybean cultivars and ZH had the best yield performance under P and water limited conditions; (2) water has a major influence on nutrient uptake and grain yield, while additional P supply can modestly increase yields under drought in some soybean genotypes; (3) while conserved water use plays an important role in grain yield under drought, root traits also contribute to high nutrient uptake efficiency and benefit yield under drought.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1499
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2017


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