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Agriculture 2015, 5(3), 649-667; doi:10.3390/agriculture5030649

Temperature Impact on the Forage Quality of Two Wheat Cultivars with Contrasting Capacity to Accumulate Sugars

1
INTA, Estación Experimental Balcarce, C.C. 276, Balcarce 7620, Argentina
2
Laboratorio de Fisiología Vegetal, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, C.C. 276, Balcarce 7620, Argentina
3
Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, La Plata 1900, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Cory Matthew
Received: 26 May 2015 / Revised: 26 May 2015 / Accepted: 10 August 2015 / Published: 17 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forage Plant Ecophysiology)
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Abstract

Wheat is increasingly used as a dual-purpose crop (for forage and grain production) worldwide. Plants encounter low temperatures in winter, which commonly results in sugar accumulation. High sugar levels might have a positive impact on forage digestibility, but may also lead to an increased risk of bloat. We hypothesized that cultivars with a lower capacity to accumulate sugars when grown under cold conditions may have a lower bloat risk than higher sugar-accumulating genotypes, without showing significantly lower forage digestibility. This possibility was studied using two wheat cultivars with contrasting sugar accumulation at low temperature. A series of experiments with contrasting temperatures were performed in controlled-temperature field enclosures (three experiments) and growth chambers (two experiments). Plants were grown at either cool (8.1 °C–9.3 °C) or warm (15.7 °C–16.5 °C) conditions in field enclosures, and at either 5 °C or 25 °C in growth chambers. An additional treatment consisted of transferring plants from cool to warm conditions in the field enclosures and from 5 °C to 25 °C in the growth chambers. The plants in the field enclosure experiments were exposed to higher irradiances (i.e., 30%–100%) than those in the growth chambers. Our results show that (i) low temperatures led to an increased hemicellulose content, in parallel with sugar accumulation; (ii) low temperatures produced negligible changes in in vitro dry matter digestibility while leading to a higher in vitro rumen gas production, especially in the higher sugar-accumulating cultivar; (iii) transferring plants from cool to warm conditions led to a sharp decrease in in vitro rumen gas production in both cultivars; and (iv) light intensity (in contrast to temperature) appeared to have a lower impact on forage quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: Triticum aestivum L.; dual purpose; cellulose; hemicellulose; lignin; crude protein; in vitro rumen gas production; in vitro dry matter digestibility Triticum aestivum L.; dual purpose; cellulose; hemicellulose; lignin; crude protein; in vitro rumen gas production; in vitro dry matter digestibility
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lorenzo, M.; Assuero, S.G.; Tognetti, J.A. Temperature Impact on the Forage Quality of Two Wheat Cultivars with Contrasting Capacity to Accumulate Sugars. Agriculture 2015, 5, 649-667.

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