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Agronomy 2018, 8(6), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8060084

Breeding Maize for Tolerance to Acidic Soils: A Review

1
Department of Agronomy, University of Fort Hare, P. Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa
2
Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), University of Yaounde I, P.O. Box 2123, Messa, Yaounde, Cameroon
3
College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, University of Ghana, PMB LG 30, Legon, Accra, Ghana
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 29 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental and Management Factor Contributions to Maize Yield)
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Abstract

Acidic soils hamper maize (Zea mays L.) production, causing yield losses of up to 69%. Low pH acidic soils can lead to aluminum (Al), manganese (Mn), or iron (Fe) toxicities. Genetic variability for tolerance to low soil pH exists among maize genotypes, which can be exploited in developing high-yielding acid-tolerant maize genotypes. In this paper, we review some of the most recent applications of conventional and molecular breeding approaches for improving maize yield under acidic soils. The gaps in breeding maize for tolerance to low soil pH are highlighted and an emphasis is placed on promoting the adoption of the numerous existing acid soil-tolerant genotypes. While progress has been made in breeding for tolerance to Al toxicity, little has been done on Mn and Fe toxicities. More research inputs are therefore required in: (1) developing screening methods for tolerance to manganese and iron toxicities; (2) elucidating the mechanisms of maize tolerance to Mn and Fe toxicities; and, (3) identifying the quantitative trait loci (QTL) responsible for Mn and Fe tolerance in maize cultivars. There is also a need to raise farmers’ and other stakeholders’ awareness of the problem of Al, Mn, and Fe soil toxicities to improve the adoption rate of the available acid-tolerant maize genotypes. Maize breeders should work more closely with farmers at the early stages of the release process of a new variety to facilitate its adoption level. Researchers are encouraged to strengthen their collaboration and exchange low soil pH-tolerant maize germplasm. View Full-Text
Keywords: maize; low soil pH; toxicity; breeding; tolerance maize; low soil pH; toxicity; breeding; tolerance
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Ngoune Tandzi, L.; Mutengwa, C.S.; Ngonkeu, E.L.M.; Gracen, V. Breeding Maize for Tolerance to Acidic Soils: A Review. Agronomy 2018, 8, 84.

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