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J Exp Bot. 2016 Nov;67(21):6125-6138. Epub 2016 Oct 5.

Robust phenotyping strategies for evaluation of stem non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) in rice.

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Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics, School of Integrated Plant Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-1901, USA.
Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility, National Renewable Energy Lab, Golden, CO 80401, USA.
International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Km17 Recta Cali-Palmira, PO Box 6713, Cali, Colombia.
International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.
Bayesic Research, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.
Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics, School of Integrated Plant Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-1901, USA


Rice plants (Oryza sativa) accumulate excess photoassimilates in the form of non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs) in their stems prior to heading that can later be mobilized to supplement photosynthate production during grain-filling. Despite longstanding interest in stem NSC for rice improvement, the dynamics of NSC accumulation, remobilization, and re-accumulation that have genetic potential for optimization have not been systematically investigated. Here we conducted three pilot experiments to lay the groundwork for large-scale diversity studies on rice stem NSC. We assessed the relationship of stem NSC components with 21 agronomic traits in large-scale, tropical yield trials using 33 breeder-nominated lines, established an appropriate experimental design for future genetic studies using a Bayesian framework to sample sub-datasets from highly replicated greenhouse data using 36 genetically diverse genotypes, and used 434 phenotypically divergent rice stem samples to develop two partial least-squares (PLS) models using near-infrared (NIR) spectra for accurate, rapid prediction of rice stem starch, sucrose, and total non-structural carbohydrates. We find evidence that stem reserves are most critical for short-duration varieties and suggest that pre-heading stem NSC is worthy of further experimentation for breeding early maturing rice.


Oryza sativa ; Near-infrared spectroscopy; non-structural carbohydrates; partial least-squares; replication; yield potential.

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