Journal Article

Late Foliar Diseases in Wheat Crops Decrease Nitrogen Yield Through N Uptake Rather than Through Variations in N Remobilization

Marie-Odile Bancal, Romain Roche and Pierre Bancal

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 102, issue 4, pages 579-590
Published in print October 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn124
Late Foliar Diseases in Wheat Crops Decrease Nitrogen Yield Through N Uptake Rather than Through Variations in N Remobilization

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

French wheat grains may be of little value on world markets because they have low and highly variable grain protein concentrations (GPC). This nitrogen-yield to yield ratio depends on crop nitrogen (N) fertilization as well as on crop capacity to use N, which is known to vary with climate and disease severity. Here an examination is made of the respective roles that N remobilization and post-anthesis N uptake play in N yield variations; in particular, when wheat crops (Triticum aestivum) are affected by leaf rust (Puccinia triticina) and Septoria tritici blotch (teleomorph Mycosphaerella graminicola).

Methods

Data from a 4-year field experiment was used to analyse N yield variations in wheat crops grown either with a third or no late N fertilization. Natural aerial epidemics ensured a range of disease severity, and fungicide ensured disease-free control plots. The data set of Gooding et al. (2005, Journal of Agricultural Science 143: 503–518) was incorporated in order to enlarge the range of conditions.

Key Results

Post-anthesis N uptake accounted for a third of N yield whilst N remobilization accounted for two-thirds in all crops whether affected by diseases or not. However, variations in N yield were highly correlated with post-anthesis N uptake, more than with N remobilization, in diseased and also healthy crops. Furthermore, N remobilization did not significantly correlate with N yield in healthy crops. These findings matched data from studies using various wheat genotypes under various management and climatic conditions. Leaf area duration (LAD) accurately predicted N remobilization whether or not crops were diseased; in diseased crops, LAD also accurately predicted N uptake.

Conclusions

Under the experimental conditions, N yield variations were closely associated with post-anthesis N uptake in diseased but also in healthy crops. Understanding the respective roles of N uptake and N remobilization in the case of diseased and healthy crops holds the promise of better modelling of variations in N yield, and thus in GPC.

Keywords: Triticum aestivum; Puccinia triticina; leaf rust; Mycosphaerella graminicola; Septoria tritici blotch; N uptake; N remobilization; N yield; Leaf area duration

Journal Article.  9333 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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