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J Exp Bot. 2009;60(7):1953-68. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erp083. Epub 2009 Apr 3.

Shoot yield drives phosphorus use efficiency in Brassica oleracea and correlates with root architecture traits.

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  • 1Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK.


The environmental and financial costs of using inorganic phosphate fertilizers to maintain crop yield and quality are high. Breeding crops that acquire and use phosphorus (P) more efficiently could reduce these costs. The variation in shoot P concentration (shoot-P) and various measures of P use efficiency (PUE) were quantified among 355 Brassica oleracea L. accessions, 74 current commercial cultivars, and 90 doubled haploid (DH) mapping lines from a reference genetic mapping population. Accessions were grown at two or more external P concentrations in glasshouse experiments; commercial and DH accessions were also grown in replicated field experiments. Within the substantial species-wide diversity observed for shoot-P and various measures of PUE in B. oleracea, current commercial cultivars have greater PUE than would be expected by chance. This may be a consequence of breeding for increased yield, which is a significant component of most measures of PUE, or early establishment. Root development and architecture correlate with PUE; in particular, lateral root number, length, and growth rate. Significant quantitative trait loci associated with shoot-P and PUE occur on chromosomes C3 and C7. These data provide information to initiate breeding programmes to improve PUE in B. oleracea.

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