Effect of defoliation and drought stress on yield components and chlorophyll content of wheat.Pak J Biol Sci 2010; 13(14):699-705PJ
In order to examine the effects of source restriction and drought stress on yield components, flag leaf chlorophyll content and Relative Water Content (RWC) of wheat cultivars, a greenhouse experiment was carried out at Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran, during 2009-2010. The wheat cultivars including Shiraz, Bahar, Pishtaz, Sistan and Yavaros were sown in 5 kg plastic pots. The source manipulation treatments including control (C), defoliation of all leaves (D1), defoliation of all leaves except the flag leaf (D2) and defoliation of all leaves except the flag leaf and penultimate leaf (D3), were imposed at anthesis. Results showed that source restriction decreased number of grain per spike significantly in Shiraz cultivar under drought stress condition. Maximum 100-grain weight was observed in C treatment of Yavaros and Shiraz under well-watered condition. Among the defoliation treatments under drought stress condition, D2 in Pishtaz and D1 in Shiraz had the highest (3.66 g) and lowest (2.71 g) 100 grain weight, respectively. In all cultivars drought stress decreased main shoot yield significantly but in Pishtaz and Sistan decreasing rate was less than the other cultivars. RWC in Shiraz decreased sharply from 92.1% in well-watered to 66.7% (27.5% reduction) under drought stress at 10 DAA. After anthesis, Pishtaz and Sistan maintained higher content of flag leaf chlorophyll (from 49.4 to 56.8 SPAD unit) under drought stress condition. Generally, selection and culture of cultivars that had small responses to defoliation might be a useful strategy in yield improvement of wheat in areas where the water availability is low.