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Agronomy 2018, 8(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8040047

Genetic Diversity of Diurnal Carbohydrate Accumulation in White Clover (Trifolium repens L.)

1
Molecular Plant Breeding, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
2
Plant Biochemistry, Institute of Molecular Plant Biology, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosynthetic Carbon Metabolism to Enhance Crop Productivity)
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Abstract

White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is one of the most important legumes for fodder production in temperate climates, particularly in intensive pasture systems. Like many other forage legumes, it lacks the energy content to maximize productivity of modern ruminant livestock breeds. White clover produces water-soluble carbohydrates and starch in its leaves as a diurnal product of photosynthesis. However, little is known about the genetically encoded variability of diel changes in carbohydrate content. We assessed the amount of glucose, fructose, sucrose, and starch in the leaves of 185 plants of a genetically diverse white clover population. Water-soluble carbohydrates only provided on average 10.6% of dry weight (DW) of the total analyzed non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) content at the end of the day (ED), while starch supplied 89.4% of the NSC content. The top 5% of individuals accumulated over 25% of their DW as starch at ED. The leaf starch content at ED showed up to a threefold difference between genotypes, with a repeatability value of 0.95. Our experiments illustrate both the physical potential of white clover to serve as a competitive energy source to meet the demand of modern ruminant livestock production and the genetic potential to improve this trait by breeding. View Full-Text
Keywords: legumes; white clover (Trifolium repens L.); non-structural carbohydrates; water-soluble carbohydrates; starch; photosynthesis; pasture energy content; breeding legumes; white clover (Trifolium repens L.); non-structural carbohydrates; water-soluble carbohydrates; starch; photosynthesis; pasture energy content; breeding
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Ruckle, M.E.; Bernasconi, L.; Kölliker, R.; Zeeman, S.C.; Studer, B. Genetic Diversity of Diurnal Carbohydrate Accumulation in White Clover (Trifolium repens L.). Agronomy 2018, 8, 47.

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