Submergence sensitivity of durum wheat, bread wheat and barley at the germination stage
AbstractSoil waterlogging at initial growth stages can cause heavy yield losses of winter cereals. Therefore, the screening for submergence tolerance traits in seeds of commercial varieties is of high concern worldwide. Ten Italian varieties of durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.), bread wheat (T. aestivum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) were investigated for their ability to germinate in submerged conditions and to recover after submergence periods of three to 15 days. Submergence prevented germination and decreased germinability, at rates that increased with duration of submergence. Sensitivity ranked in the order: barley >durum wheat >bread wheat. We related the higher sensitivity of barley to its slower germination and slightly higher leakage of electrolytes, whereas the percentage of abnormal seedlings was lower than in other species. It was less than 4%, compared to less than 15 and 8% in durum wheat and bread wheat, respectively. Wide varietal differences were found in all species. According to variety, after 6-day submergence, germinability ranged from 2 to 42% in barley, from 5 to 80% in durum wheat, and from 30 to 77% in bread wheat. Varieties with more than 40% seed survival were three, six and seven per species, in the same order. The differential submergence sensitivity of varieties indicates a potential to select for waterlogging tolerance within Italian genotypes of winter cereal crops.
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