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J Plant Physiol. 2017 Sep;216:118-124. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2017.05.026. Epub 2017 Jun 3.

Post-anthesis nitrate uptake is critical to yield and grain protein content in Sorghum bicolor.

Author information

1
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia. Electronic address: b.worland@uq.edu.au.
2
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.
3
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Warwick, Queensland 4370, Australia; Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, Warwick, Queensland 4370, Australia.
4
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia; Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, Warwick, Queensland 4370, Australia.

Abstract

Crops only use ∼50% of applied nitrogen (N) fertilizer creating N losses and pollution. Plants need to efficiently uptake and utilize N to meet growing global food demands. Here we investigate how the supply and timing of nitrate affects N status and yield in Sorghum bicolor (sorghum). Sorghum was grown in pots with either 10mM (High) or 1mM (Low) nitrate supply. Shortly before anthesis the nitrate supply was either maintained, increased 10-fold or eliminated. Leaf sheaths of sorghum grown with High nitrate accumulated nitrate in concentrations >3-times higher than leaves. Removal of nitrate supply pre-anthesis resulted in the rapid reduction of stored nitrate in all organs. Plants receiving a 10-fold increase in nitrate supply pre-anthesis achieved similar grain yield and protein content and 29% larger grains than those maintained on High nitrate, despite receiving 24% less nitrate over the whole growth period. In sorghum, plant available N is important throughout development, particularly anthesis and grain filling, for grain yield and grain protein content. Nitrate accumulation in leaf sheaths presents opportunities for the genetic analysis of mechanisms behind nitrate storage and remobilization in sorghum to improve N use efficiency.

KEYWORDS:

Nitrate; Nitrate accumulation; Nitrogen; Nitrogen remobilization

PMID:
28609668
DOI:
10.1016/j.jplph.2017.05.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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