Hormonal changes are related to the poor grain filling in the inferior spikelets of rice cultivated under non-flooded and mulched condition

Guowei Xu, Jianhua ZHANG*, Hon Ming Lam, Zhiqin Wang, Jianchang Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Non-flooded plastic mulching cultivation (PM) of rice can save much irrigation but usually exhibits a poor grain filling and low grain weight when compared to traditional flooding cultivation (TF). This study measured the variations of plant hormones during grain filling and investigated whether they were related to the grain-filling problem under mulching in a field experiment. Hormonal levels in the grains and the grain development of both superior (early flowered) and inferior spikelets (later flowered) were monitored continuously during the grain filling period. The contents of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), zeatin riboside (ZR) and abscisic acid (ABA) were higher in superior grains than in inferior ones at early grain-filling stage. For individual spikelets, the peaks of IAA and ZR contents appeared just before the peak grain-filling rate but the peak ABA content matched it. The earlier flowered superior spikelets did not show much difference in grain filling characteristics and hormonal changes under the two cultivation treatments. Distinctively with the inferior spikelets in a panicle, PM led to lower grain weight, higher grain-filling rate at early stage and shorter active grain-filling period than the TF. PM also resulted in less IAA and ZR but more ABA contents in the grains than TF at early and middle grain filling stages in these inferior spikelets. Peaks of these hormone contents in the PM inferior grains usually appeared earlier and also disappeared more quickly than those in TF inferior grains. When exogenous IAA was applied to plants at the initial grain-filling stage, IAA and ZR were increased and ABA was reduced in the inferior grains. The treatment prolonged the active grain-filing period and reduced the peak grain-filling rate of inferior grains, similarly as the case with TF. As a result, IAA spraying enhanced the weight of PM inferior grains but reduced that of TF ones. Exogenous ABA spraying led to the opposite effects to those of IAA. The results suggest that the shortened grain-filling period in the inferior grains under PM is related to the increased ABA and reduced IAA and ZR in the grains. Regulation of the ratio of ABA to IAA in grains could potentially increase the weight of inferior grains under the water-saving cultivation with film mulching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalField Crops Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Abscisic acid
  • Cytokinins
  • Indole-3-acetic acid
  • Mulching cultivation
  • Rice (Oryza sativa L.)


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