[Truncated abstract] Grass pea (Lathyrus sativus cv. Ceora) is a multipurpose grain legume with an indeterminate growth habit. Adaptation of grass pea to water deficits and its potential rotational benefits in the Mediterranean-type environment of southern Australia are not well understood. The first objective of the thesis was to identify adaptation mechanisms of grass pea to water deficits. This was done by imposing water deficit during the reproductive period on plants grown in pots in a glasshouse. In the first experiment, a moderate water deficit was imposed on Ceora and a well-adapted field pea (Pisum sativum cv. Kaspa), by reducing soil water content from 80 to 50% field capacity (FC) during seed filling. Water deficit decreased pre-dawn leaf water potential (Ψ) of Ceora and Kaspa, as well as stomatal conductance (gs) of Ceora, but no reduction in photosynthesis occurred. Water deficit reduced green leaf area of Ceora resulting in 30 and 24% reduction in plant dry mass and seed yield at maturity, respectively. Seed size and harvest indices (HI) of Ceora did not differ between the treatments. Ceora produced more dry matter than Kaspa in both treatments, but produced 22 (control) and 33% (water deficit) lower seed yields.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2010|