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Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9040186

Ethephon Improved Stalk Strength of Maize (Zea Mays L.) Mainly through Altering Internode Morphological Traits to Modulate Mechanical Properties under Field Conditions

1
Engineering Research Center of Plant Growth Regulator, Ministry of Education, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
2
College of Crop Science, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China
3
Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 March 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
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Abstract

Stalk strength is critical for reducing maize stalk lodging and maintaining grain yield. Ethephon has been widely applied to molding compact plant-type to reduce the lodging risk in maize production. However, there is little information on how ethephon regulates internode mechanical properties to improve maize stalk strength. Multiyear field experiments (2013–2017) were conducted to determine the effects of foliar-applied ethephon on summer maize internode morphological, chemical and mechanical characteristics. The hypothetical structural equation model was used to analyze the contribution of ethephon-induced changes of internode morphological and chemical traits to stalk mechanical strength. Ethephon significantly reduced the basal internode length, while increasing internode diameters and breaking resistance. Meanwhile, ethephon significantly increased the ratio of structural dry matter to total dry matter and the amount of structural dry matter per unit length and volume. Mechanical assays suggested that ethephon significantly altered geometric properties and increased the maximum bending moment, maximum failure force, while depressing the material properties. Furthermore, correlation and path analyses revealed strong correlations and significant contribution of internode morphological properties to stalk mechanical strength, respectively. These results support the conclusion that ethephon-induced morphology alteration played a major role in improving maize internode strength. View Full-Text
Keywords: ethephon; maize (Zea mays L.); mechanical properties; internode chemical traits; internode morphological traits; stalk strength; structural dry matter ethephon; maize (Zea mays L.); mechanical properties; internode chemical traits; internode morphological traits; stalk strength; structural dry matter
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhang, Y.; Wang, Y.; Ye, D.; Wang, W.; Qiu, X.; Duan, L.; Li, Z.; Zhang, M. Ethephon Improved Stalk Strength of Maize (Zea Mays L.) Mainly through Altering Internode Morphological Traits to Modulate Mechanical Properties under Field Conditions. Agronomy 2019, 9, 186.

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