Special Issue "Breeding Sorghum for Adaptation to Abiotic Stress through Use of Heterosis"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Breeding and Genetics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Willmar L. Leiser
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
State Plant Breeding Institute, University of Hohenheim, Fruwirthstr, 21, D-70599, Stuttgart, Germany
Interests: breeding crops for sustainable agricultural systems using advanced genomic and statistical tools
Dr. Henry Frederick W. Rattunde
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Agronomy Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, US
Interests: breeding sorghum and pearl millet

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Sorghum is grown worldwide by a wide spectrum of farmers who produce under diverse conditions, ranging from low-input smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to large-scale and resource intensive producers in the Americas and Australia. What all of these producers share in common is their reliance on sorghum’s ability to grow and produce under soil moisture and fertility conditions that are often too challenging for most other cereals.

Hybrid varieties, with their hybrid vigor, have shown higher environmental stability and stress tolerance than other, non-hybrid, varieties. However, to more fully realize the potential of sorghum hybrids to enhance resilience, there is need to prioritize breeding objectives and advance breeding methods, genetic-understandings and sources of genetic diversity targeting these diverse stresses.

This special issue of Agronomy will focus on recent research advances for breeding sorghum hybrids for stress prone environments. The topics to be examined will address aspects ranging from the genetics of abiotic stress tolerance, whether due to nutrient deficiency, drought or water logging, to environmental stability of hybridization mechanisms, such as fertility restoration, and yield stabilities of different variety types under varying pedoclimatic conditions. This issue will provide snap shots of the state of the art for linking heterosis and abiotic stress tolerance and inspire future breeding for adaptation to edaphic and climate induced stresses in sorghum and other crops.

Dr. Willmar L. Leiser
Dr. Henry Frederick W. Rattunde
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sorghum
  • abiotic stress
  • adaptation
  • yield stability
  • heterosis
  • hybrid production

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
The Impacts of Flowering Time and Tillering on Grain Yield of Sorghum Hybrids across Diverse Environments
Agronomy 2020, 10(1), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10010135 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Sorghum in Australia is grown in water-limited environments of varying extent, generating substantial genotype × environment interactions (GEIs) for grain yield. Much of the yield variation and GEI results from variations in flowering time and tillering through their effects on canopy development. The [...] Read more.
Sorghum in Australia is grown in water-limited environments of varying extent, generating substantial genotype × environment interactions (GEIs) for grain yield. Much of the yield variation and GEI results from variations in flowering time and tillering through their effects on canopy development. The confounding effects of flowering and tillering complicate the interpretation of breeding trials. In this study, we evaluated the impacts of both flowering time (DTF) and tillering capacity (FTN) on the yield of 1741 unique test hybrids derived from three common female testers in 21 yield testing trials (48 tester/trial combinations) across the major sorghum production regions in Australia in three seasons. Contributions of DTF and FTN to genetic variation in grain yield were significant in 14 and 12 tester/trial combinations, respectively. The proportion of genetic variance in grain yield explained by DTF and FTN ranged from 0.2% to 61.0% and from 1.4% to 56.9%, respectively, depending on trials and genetic background of female testers. The relationship of DTF or FTN with grain yield of hybrids was frequently positive but varied across the genetic background of testers. Accounting for the effects of DTF and FTN using linear models did not substantially increase the between-trial genetic correlations for grain yield. The results suggested that other factors affecting canopy development dynamics and grain yield might contribute GEI and/or the linear approach to account for DTF and FTN on grain yield did not capture the complex non-linear interactions. Full article
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Article
Genotype-Environment Interaction: Trade-Offs between the Agronomic Performance and Stability of Dual-Purpose Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) Genotypes in Senegal
Agronomy 2019, 9(12), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9120867 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 948
Abstract
Introducing sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) genotypes into new environments is necessary for expanding the production of food and fuel, but these efforts are complicated by significant genotype × environment interactions that can reduce their effectiveness. This study set out to thoroughly [...] Read more.
Introducing sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) genotypes into new environments is necessary for expanding the production of food and fuel, but these efforts are complicated by significant genotype × environment interactions that can reduce their effectiveness. This study set out to thoroughly analyze genotype × environment interactions and assess trade-offs between the agronomic performance and the stability of grain and biomass yields of ten contrasting genotypes under Sudano-Sahelian conditions. Experiments were carried out in a randomized complete block design with four replicates. They were conducted from 2013 to 2016 in Bambey, Sinthiou Malem and Nioro du Rip in Senegal. The joint analysis of variance revealed a highly significant effect (p < 0.0001) of genotypes (G), environments (E) and G × E interaction. Most genotypes showed specific adaptations. The best grain yields were obtained by the Nieleni and Fadda hybrids, while the improved varieties IS15401 and SK5912 were best for biomass production. An Additive Main effect and Multiplicative Interaction (AMMI) analysis showed that good grain yields were associated with environments having good soil fertility and good rainfall, while biomass yields were more influenced by the sowing date and rainfall. Similarly, we were able to confirm for our 10 sorghum genotypes that yield stability was generally associated with low performance, except for the Nieleni and Fadda hybrids, which performed well for grain and biomass production regardless of the environment. The Senegalese control genotype, 621B, showed particular susceptibility to growing conditions (soil), but remained very productive (more than 3 tons per hectare) under good agro-pedological conditions. These results lead us to recommend the Fadda and Nieleni hybrids for the entire study region, while 621B can also be recommended, but only for highly specific environments with good soils. Full article
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Article
Genetic Diversification and Selection Strategies for Improving Sorghum Grain Yield Under Phosphorous-Deficient Conditions in West Africa
Agronomy 2019, 9(11), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110742 - 11 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 869
Abstract
Sorghum, a major crop for income generation and food security in West and Central Africa, is predominantly grown in low-input farming systems with serious soil phosphorus (P) deficiencies. This study (a) estimates genetic parameters needed to design selection protocols that optimize genetic gains [...] Read more.
Sorghum, a major crop for income generation and food security in West and Central Africa, is predominantly grown in low-input farming systems with serious soil phosphorus (P) deficiencies. This study (a) estimates genetic parameters needed to design selection protocols that optimize genetic gains for yield under low-phosphorus conditions and (b) examines the utility of introgressed backcross nested association mapping (BCNAM) populations for diversifying Malian breeding materials. A total of 1083 BC1F5 progenies derived from an elite hybrid restorer “Lata-3” and 13 diverse donor accessions were evaluated for yield and agronomic traits under contrasting soil P conditions in Mali in 2013. A subset of 298 progenies were further tested under low-P (LP) and high-P (HP) conditions in 2014 and 2015. Significant genetic variation for grain yield was observed under LP and HP conditions. Selection for grain yield under LP conditions was feasible and more efficient than the indirect selection under HP in all three years of testing. Several of the BCNAM populations exhibited yields under LP conditions that were superior to the elite restorer line used as a recurrent parent. The BCNAM approach appears promising for diversifying the male parent pool with introgression of diverse materials using both adapted Malian breed and unadapted landrace material from distant geographic origins as donors. Full article
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Article
Defining Fertilization Strategies for Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) Production Under Sudano-Sahelian Conditions: Options for Late Basal Fertilizer Application
Agronomy 2019, 9(11), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9110697 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1023
Abstract
Soil nutrient deficiency and rainfall variability impair the production of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L). Moench) in Sudano-Sahelian zone. The aim is to study the environmental factors that can determine the effect of fertilizer application on sorghum grain yield and to formulate [...] Read more.
Soil nutrient deficiency and rainfall variability impair the production of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L). Moench) in Sudano-Sahelian zone. The aim is to study the environmental factors that can determine the effect of fertilizer application on sorghum grain yield and to formulate tailored fertilization strategies according to sorghum varieties (hybrid and open pollinated improved varieties) and environmental context. Field experiments were conducted during the 2015 and 2016 growing seasons in Nioro du Rip and in Sinthiou Malème (Senegal). In a randomized complete block design arranged in a split-plot with four replications, three factors were tested: sorghum genotype (G: Fadda, Faourou, Soumalemba and Soumba with different cycle lengths), environment (E: irrigation and rainfed, different soil types and fertility levels), and fertilization management (M: five different combinations of application dose and application time) including T1 = no fertilizer applied; T2 (recommended practice, 100%) = 150 kg/ha of NPK (15-15-15) at emergence + 50 Kg/ha of urea (46%) at tillering + 50 kg/ha of urea at stem extension; T3 = 50% T2; T4 (100% delay) = 150 kg/ha of NPK +50 kg/ha of urea at stem extension +50 kg/ha of urea at heading ; T5 = 50% T4. Results showed that: (i) in most environments, stressed plants under late application treatments (T4 and T5) recovered biomass once the fertilizer was applied (ii); grain yield with T5 was higher than with T4 under well-watered conditions (sufficient and well distributed rainfall and eventual complementary irrigations) ; (iii) Fadda, a hybrid, responded differently to fertilization than the other varieties only for biomass production, (iv) late fertilizer application treatment (T4) gave higher grain yield than the recommended practice (T2) in the environment with low yield potential, and (v) long cycle duration genotypes benefited better from late fertilization compared to short cycle duration genotypes. This study showed that under Sudano-Sahelian conditions late fertilization of sorghum can be beneficial to grain yield if the rainy season has a slow start, depending on sorghum genotypes (i.e., cycle length), and on the initial N content of the soil. Full article
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Article
Reproductive Cold Stress Tolerance in Sorghum F1 Hybrids is a Heterotic Trait
Agronomy 2019, 9(9), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9090508 - 03 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1105
Abstract
The sensitivity of sorghum to pre-flowering cold stress, resulting in reduced pollen viability and poor seed set, is a major constraint for expanding growing areas into higher altitudes and latitudes. Nevertheless, compared to juvenile cold tolerance, reproductive cold tolerance in sorghum has received [...] Read more.
The sensitivity of sorghum to pre-flowering cold stress, resulting in reduced pollen viability and poor seed set, is a major constraint for expanding growing areas into higher altitudes and latitudes. Nevertheless, compared to juvenile cold tolerance, reproductive cold tolerance in sorghum has received much less attention so far, and very little is known about its inheritance in F1-hybrids. We have composed a representative factorial (n = 49 experimental F1-hybrids) for a comprehensive study on heterosis and combining ability for crucial tolerance traits as spikelet fertility (panicle harvest index), seed yield and pollen viability, using field trials in stress- and control environments in Germany and Mexico as well as climate chamber experiments. Our results indicate a heterotic and rather dominant inheritance of reproductive cold tolerance in sorghum, with strong effects of female general combining ability (GCA) on F1-hybrid performance in our material. These findings, together with the comparatively low contribution of specific combining ability (SCA) effects and high heritability estimates, suggest that robust and efficient enhancement of reproductive cold tolerance is feasible via hybrid breeding. Full article
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