Physiological and seed yield responses to water deficits among lentil genotypes from diverse origins

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The effect of water deficits at 2 growth stages on the physiology and growth of lentil ( Lens culinaris Medikus subsp. culinaris) genotypes bred/selected for 3 regions was examined in a glasshouse experiment. The water regimes imposed were: ( i) a well-watered control, ( ii) water withheld at flowering, from 72 to 93 days after sowing ( DAS), and ( iii) water withheld from podding ( 93 DAS) to maturity. The genotypes were a West Asian genotype released in Australia ( Cassab), 2 South Asian Nepali cultivars ( Khajura 2 and Simal), and 3 crossbreds between West Asian and South Asian parents ( ILL 6829, ILL 7979, and ILL 7982). ILL 7979 and Simal had significantly greater total dry matter, water use, seed yield, number of pods and seeds per plant, and harvest index ( HI) than the other genotypes under well-watered conditions. Water deficits reduced seed yield by up to 60% in the crossbreds and the South Asian cultivar, Simal. However, seed yield was increased by the water deficit at flowering and the water deficit at podding in the West Asian genotype, Cassab, and the South Asian genotype, Khajura 2, respectively. In the other genotypes, withholding water at flowering or podding reduced leaf area ( 48 - 55%), total dry matter ( 32 - 50%),. ower production ( 22 - 55%), and number of pods and seeds ( 27 - 66%), with significantly higher. ower drop and empty pods when water was withheld. The higher seed yield in Cassab and Khajura 2 when water was withheld was related to the production of more flowers and the maintenance of pod and seed set when they were re-watered after the period of water deficit.When water was withheld during flowering, the West Asian genotype Cassab and the crossbred ILL 6829 used less water and hence maintained a high leaf water potential (psi(leaf)), whereas psi(leaf) decreased earlier to lower values in the crossbred ILL 7979 and the South Asian genotypes Khajura 2 and Simal. There were no significant differences in leaf net photosynthesis ( P-N), or stomatal conductance ( g(S)), among genotypes during flowering and early podding, but PN and gS were reduced by 22 - 38 and 19 - 67%, respectively, when water was withheld. The lower psi(leaf) in ILL 7979, Simal, and Khajura 2 induced greater osmotic adjustment ( OA) during the drying cycle at flowering, whereas there was no or little OA when water was withheld at podding. Variation in physiological traits ( PN, gS, OA) under both watering regimes was not directly related to seed yield, but seed number was related to seed yield under both well-watered and water-deficit conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-915
Journal Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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