Lodging-resistant rice (Oryza sativa) cultivars usually show slow grain filling when nitrogen is applied in large amounts. This study investigated the possibility that a hormonal change may mediate the effect of water deficit that enhances whole plant senescence and speeds up grain filling. Two rice cultivars showing high lodging resistance and slow grain filling were field grown and applied with either normal or high amount nitrogen (HN) at heading. Well-watered and water-stressed (WS) treatments were imposed 9 days post anthesis to maturity. Results showed that WS increased partitioning of fixed 14CO2 into grains, accelerated the grain filling rate but shortened the grain filling period, whereas the HN did the opposite way. Cytokinin (zeatin+zeatin riboside) and indole-3-acetic acid contents in the grains transiently increased at early filling stage and WS treatments hastened their declines at the late grain filling stage. Gibberellins (GAs; GA1+GA4) in the grains were also high at early grain filling but HN enhanced, whereas WS substantially reduced, its accumulation. Opposite to GAs, abscisic acid (ABA) in the grains was low at early grain filling but WS remarkably enhanced its accumulation. The peak values of ABA were significantly correlated with the maximum grain filling rates (r=0.92**, P<0.01) and the partitioning of fixed 14C into grains (r=0.95**, P<0.01). Exogenously applied ABA on pot-grown HN rice showed similar results as those by WS. Results suggest that an altered hormonal balance in rice grains by water stress during grain filling, especially a decrease in GAs and an increase in ABA, enhances the remobilization of prestored carbon to the grains and accelerates the grain filling rate.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Plant Science