Special Issue "Cereal Physiology and Breeding"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Physiology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gustavo A. Slafer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Crop and Forest Sciences, University of Lleida - AGROTECNIO Center, Av. Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Spain
Interests: crop physiology
Dr. Ernesto Igartua
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Estación Experimental de Aula Dei, EEAD-CSIC, Avenida Montañana 1005, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
Dr. Iker Aranjuelo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Agrobiotechnology Institute (IdAB-CSIC)-Gobierno de Navarra, Campus de Arrosadia, E-31192-Mutilva Baja, Spain
Interests: climate change; cereals; N2 fixers; resource use efficiency; photosynthesis; stable isotopes; sustainable agriculture; yield and quality traits
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The production of cereals is of critical importance for food security. Globally, cereals are the most important source of proteins and carbohydrates in our diet. During the second half of the 20th, cereal yields increased steadily due to a combination of improvements in agronomics and genetics. However, during the last decades, cereal yields have been stagnating in large areas of the world. To keep up with the demand of an increasing population in a challenging climate scenario, it is essential to optimize cereal yields in the coming decades.

Since it is highly unlikely that the cultivated area can be increased, we must target genetic improvement and improved management strategies to promote a more productive, sustainable, and resource-efficient agriculture.

The main goal of the current Special Issue is to publish papers focused on physiological and genetic approaches, aiming at increasing both the actual and the potential productivity of cereals, closing the yield gap in stressful conditions, and increasing the nutritional quality and healthiness of cereal products. Topics covered will encompass understanding the physiological and molecular bases of cereal productivity, germplasm mining for relevant traits, improving productivity or quality of cereal crops via pre-breeding and breeding approaches, particularly considering the climate change perspectives. Within this context, multidisciplinary approaches, related to agronomy, physiology, high-throughput phenotyping, genomics, metabolomics, etc., will be welcomed.

Dr. Gustavo A. Slafer
Dr. Ernesto Igartua
Dr. Iker Aranjuelo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (11 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Response of Wheat Storage Proteins and Breadmaking Quality to Dimethylpyrazole-Based Nitrification Inhibitors under Different Nitrogen Fertilization Splitting Strategies
Plants 2021, 10(4), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040703 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Improving fertilizer nitrogen (N) use efficiency is essential to increase crop productivity and avoid environmental damage. This study was conducted during four crop cycles of winter wheat under humid Mediterranean conditions (Araba, northern Spain). The effects of N-fertilization splitting and the application of [...] Read more.
Improving fertilizer nitrogen (N) use efficiency is essential to increase crop productivity and avoid environmental damage. This study was conducted during four crop cycles of winter wheat under humid Mediterranean conditions (Araba, northern Spain). The effects of N-fertilization splitting and the application of the nitrification inhibitors (NIs) 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) and 2-(3,4-dimethyl-1H-pyrazol-1-yl) succinic acid isomeric mixture (DMPSA) as strategies to improve grain quality were examined. The hypothesis of this study was to test if the partial ammonium nutrition and the reduction of fertilizer losses presumably induced by the application of NIs can modify the grain gliadin and glutenin protein contents and the breadmaking quality (dough rheological properties). Among both NIs assayed, only DMPP showed a slight effect of decreasing the omega gliadin fraction, following splitting either two or three times, although this effect was dependent on the year and was not reflected in terms of dough extensibility. The slight decreases observed in grain quality in terms of dough strength and glutenin content induced by DMPP suggest that DMPSA is more promising in terms of maintaining grain quality. Nonetheless, these poor effects exerted by NI application on grain quality parameters did not lead to changes in the quality parameters defining the flour aptitudes for breadmaking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Exploring the End-Use Quality Potential of a Collection of Spanish Bread Wheat Landraces
Plants 2021, 10(4), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040620 - 24 Mar 2021
Viewed by 347
Abstract
Modern plant-breeding practices have narrowed the genetic base of wheat, such that there is a need to introduce new germplasms with underexploited diversity into breeding programs. Wheat landraces are a very valuable resource when searching for genetic variation, which not only possess increased [...] Read more.
Modern plant-breeding practices have narrowed the genetic base of wheat, such that there is a need to introduce new germplasms with underexploited diversity into breeding programs. Wheat landraces are a very valuable resource when searching for genetic variation, which not only possess increased adaptability, but also quality-related traits. Several studies have shown a wide genetic diversity in Spanish wheat landraces compared to other germplasm collections; therefore, the main objective of this study is to analyze the variability in a collection of 189 landraces from the Spanish National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (Centro de Recursos Fitogenéticos, CRF-INIA, Alcalá de Henares), in relation to end-use quality traits. We characterized the whole collection for high-molecular-weight glutenin and puroindoline allelic composition, and for gluten strength. In addition, grain protein content, grains per spike, and thousand kernel weight were evaluated in samples from four-year field trials. The relationship between glutenin composition and quality was evaluated, and some alleles strongly associated with high quality were identified in the collection, some of them specific for Iberian landraces. The results also show the presence of novel variability within high-molecular-weight glutenin and puroindolines, which needs to be characterized further in order to assess its influence on wheat quality. In addition, a set of landraces showing outstanding values for gluten quality and a good agronomic performance was selected for testing in field trials in order to evaluate the suitability of their direct use in cropping systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Impact of Rising Temperature in the Deposition Patterns of Bioactive Compounds in Field Grown Food Barley Grains
Plants 2021, 10(3), 598; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030598 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 325
Abstract
High temperatures at the end of the season are frequent under Mediterranean conditions, affecting final grain quality. This study determined the deposition patterns throughout grain filling of dry matter, dietary fiber, phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity for four barley genotypes under two contrasting [...] Read more.
High temperatures at the end of the season are frequent under Mediterranean conditions, affecting final grain quality. This study determined the deposition patterns throughout grain filling of dry matter, dietary fiber, phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity for four barley genotypes under two contrasting temperatures. Deposition pattern for dietary fiber followed that of grain weight. Genotypic differences for duration were more significant than for rate. Anthocyanins followed a second-degree polynomial pattern, reaching a maximum before grain maturation. Free and bound phenols decreased as grain developed, suggesting that they are synthesized in early stages. Rate of bound phenols deposition was more sensitive to genotypic changes. Overall, antioxidant capacity decreased over time; the decay being less steep under stress for all genotypes. Heat stress negatively affected grain weight. It did not alter the profile of β-glucans and arabinoxylans deposition but positively changed the accumulation of some phenolic compounds, increasing the antioxidant capacity differentially across genotypes. These results support the growing of food barley in high-temperature stress-prone areas, as some bioactive compound and antioxidant capacity will increase, regardless of the smaller grain size. Moreover, if a market develops for food-barley ingredients, early harvesting of non-mature grain to maximize antioxidant capacity should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Wheat Developmental Traits as Affected by the Interaction between Eps-7D and Temperature under Contrasting Photoperiods with Insensitive Ppd-D1 Background
Plants 2021, 10(3), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030547 - 13 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 415
Abstract
Earliness per se (Eps) genes are important to fine tune adaptation, and studying their probable pleiotropic effect on wheat yield traits is worthwhile. In addition, it has been shown that some Eps genes interact with temperature and therefore determining the likely [...] Read more.
Earliness per se (Eps) genes are important to fine tune adaptation, and studying their probable pleiotropic effect on wheat yield traits is worthwhile. In addition, it has been shown that some Eps genes interact with temperature and therefore determining the likely Eps × temperature interaction is needed for each newly identified Eps gene. We studied two NILs differing in the newly identified Eps-7D (carrying insensitive Ppd-D1 in the background) under three temperature regimes (9, 15 and 18 °C) and two photoperiods (12 and 24 h). Eps-7D affected time to anthesis as expected and the Eps-7D-late allele extended both the period before and after terminal spikelet. The interaction effect of Eps-7D × temperature was significant but not cross-over: the magnitude and level of significance of the difference between NILs with the late or early allele was affected by the growing temperature (i.e., difference was least at 18 °C and largest at 9 °C), and the differences caused due to temperature sensitivity were influenced by photoperiod. The rate of leaf initiation was faster in NIL with Eps-7D-early than with the late allele which compensated for the shorter duration of leaf initiation resulting in similar final leaf number between two NILs. Eps-7D-late consistently increased spike fertility through improving floret primordia survival as a consequence of extending the late reproductive phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Phenology and Floret Development as Affected by the Interaction between Eps-7D and Ppd-D1
Plants 2021, 10(3), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030533 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 247
Abstract
Earliness per se (Eps) genes may play a critical role in further improving wheat adaptation and fine-tuning wheat development to cope with climate change. There are only few studies on the detailed effect of Eps on wheat development and fewer on [...] Read more.
Earliness per se (Eps) genes may play a critical role in further improving wheat adaptation and fine-tuning wheat development to cope with climate change. There are only few studies on the detailed effect of Eps on wheat development and fewer on the interaction of Eps with the environment and other genes determining time to anthesis. Furthermore, it seems relevant to study every newly discovered Eps gene and its probable interactions as the mechanisms and detailed effects of each Eps may be quite different. In the present study, we evaluated NILs differing in the recently identified Eps-7D as well as in Ppd-D1 at three temperature regimes (9, 15 and 18 °C) under short day. The effect of Eps-7D on time to anthesis as well as on its component phases varied both qualitatively and quantitatively depending on the allelic status of Ppd-D1 and temperature, being larger in a photoperiod-sensitive background. A more noticeable effect of Eps-7D (when combined with Ppd-D1b) was realised during the late reproductive phase. Consequently, the final leaf number was not clearly altered by Eps-7D, while floret development of the labile florets (florets 2 and 3 in this case, depending on the particular spikelet) was favoured by the action of the Eps-7D-late allele, increasing the likelihood of particular florets to become fertile, and consequently, improving spike fertility when combined with Ppd-D1b. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Candidate Genes and Quantitative Trait Loci for Grain Yield and Seed Size in Durum Wheat
Plants 2021, 10(2), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020312 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 606
Abstract
Grain yield (YLD) is affected by thousand kernel weight (TKW) which reflects the combination of grain length (GL), grain width (GW) and grain area (AREA). Grain weight is also influenced by heading time (HT) and plant height (PH). To detect candidate genes and [...] Read more.
Grain yield (YLD) is affected by thousand kernel weight (TKW) which reflects the combination of grain length (GL), grain width (GW) and grain area (AREA). Grain weight is also influenced by heading time (HT) and plant height (PH). To detect candidate genes and quantitative trait loci (QTL) of yield components, a durum wheat recombinant inbred line (RIL) population was evaluated in three field trials. The RIL was genotyped with a 90K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array and a high-density genetic linkage map with 5134 markers was obtained. A total of 30 QTL were detected including 23 QTL grouped in clusters on 1B, 2A, 3A, 4B and 6B chromosomes. A QTL cluster on 2A chromosome included a major QTL for HT co-located with QTL for YLD, TKW, GL, GW and AREA, respectively. The photoperiod sensitivity (Ppd-A1) gene was found in the physical position of this cluster. Serine carboxypeptidase, Big grain 1 and β-fructofuranosidase candidate genes were mapped in clusters containing QTL for seed size. This study showed that yield components and phenological traits had higher inheritances than grain yield, allowing an accurate QTL cluster detection. This was a requisite to physically map QTL on durum genome and to identify candidate genes affecting grain yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Short-Term Exposure to High Atmospheric Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD) Severely Impacts Durum Wheat Carbon and Nitrogen Metabolism in the Absence of Edaphic Water Stress
Plants 2021, 10(1), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010120 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 654
Abstract
Low atmospheric relative humidity (RH) accompanied by elevated air temperature and decreased precipitation are environmental challenges that wheat production will face in future decades. These changes to the atmosphere are causing increases in air vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and low soil water availability [...] Read more.
Low atmospheric relative humidity (RH) accompanied by elevated air temperature and decreased precipitation are environmental challenges that wheat production will face in future decades. These changes to the atmosphere are causing increases in air vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and low soil water availability during certain periods of the wheat-growing season. The main objective of this study was to analyze the physiological, metabolic, and transcriptional response of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) metabolism of wheat (Triticum durum cv. Sula) to increases in VPD and soil water stress conditions, either alone or in combination. Plants were first grown in well-watered conditions and near-ambient temperature and RH in temperature-gradient greenhouses until anthesis, and they were then subjected to two different water regimes well-watered (WW) and water-stressed (WS), i.e., watered at 50% of the control for one week, followed by two VPD levels (low, 1.01/0.36 KPa and high, 2.27/0.62 KPa; day/night) for five additional days. Both VPD and soil water content had an important impact on water status and the plant physiological apparatus. While high VPD and water stress-induced stomatal closure affected photosynthetic rates, in the case of plants watered at 50%, high VPD also caused a direct impairment of the RuBisCO large subunit, RuBisCO activase and the electron transport rate. Regarding N metabolism, the gene expression, nitrite reductase (NIR) and transport levels detected in young leaves, as well as determinations of the δ15N and amino acid profiles (arginine, leucine, tryptophan, aspartic acid, and serine) indicated activation of N metabolism and final transport of nitrate to leaves and photosynthesizing cells. On the other hand, under low VPD conditions, a positive effect was only observed on gene expression related to the final step of nitrate supply to photosynthesizing cells, whereas the amount of 15N supplied to the roots that reached the leaves decreased. Such an effect would suggest an impaired N remobilization from other organs to young leaves under water stress conditions and low VPD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Photoperiod Genes and Flowering Time on Yield and Yield Stability in Durum Wheat
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1723; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121723 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 588
Abstract
This study analysed the effect of flowering time as influenced by photoperiod sensitivity genes on yield and yield stability in durum wheat. Twenty-three spring genotypes harbouring different allele combinations at Ppd-A1 and Ppd-B1 were grown in 15 field experiments at three sites at [...] Read more.
This study analysed the effect of flowering time as influenced by photoperiod sensitivity genes on yield and yield stability in durum wheat. Twenty-three spring genotypes harbouring different allele combinations at Ppd-A1 and Ppd-B1 were grown in 15 field experiments at three sites at latitudes from 41° to 19° N (Spain, Mexico-North and Mexico-South). Low temperature and solar radiation before flowering and long day length during grain-filling characteristic for the Spanish site resulted in high grain number/m2 (GN) and yield (GY), while a moderate GN combined with high solar radiation during grain-filling at Mexico-North led to heavier grains. Allele combination GS100-Ppd-A1a/Ppd-B1a reduced the flowering time up to nine days when compared with Ppd-A1b/Ppd-B1a. Differences in flowering time caused by Ppd-A1/Ppd-B1 allele combinations did not affect yield. Combinations GS105-Ppd-A1a/Ppd-B1b and Ppd-A1b/Ppd-B1b resulted in the highest GN, linked to spikelets/spike, which was higher in GS105-Ppd-A1a/Ppd-B1b due to more grains/spikelet. Flowering time caused by Eps had a minor effect on GN, spikes/m2 and grains/spike, but late flowering resulted in reduced grain weight and GY. Allele combinations harbouring alleles conferring a similar photoperiod sensitivity response at Ppd-A1 and Ppd-B1 resulted in greater yield stability than combinations that carry alleles conferring a different response. Allele combination GS100-Ppd-A1a/Ppd-B1a was the most suitable in terms of yield and yield stability of durum wheat cultivated under irrigation within the studied latitudes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Durum Wheat Grain Yield and Quality under Low and High Nitrogen Conditions: Insights into Natural Variation in Low- and High-Yielding Genotypes
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1636; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121636 - 24 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 598
Abstract
The availability and management of N are major determinants of crop productivity, but N excessive use has an associated agro-ecosystems environmental impact. The aim of this work was to investigate the influence of N fertilization on yield and grain quality of 6 durum [...] Read more.
The availability and management of N are major determinants of crop productivity, but N excessive use has an associated agro-ecosystems environmental impact. The aim of this work was to investigate the influence of N fertilization on yield and grain quality of 6 durum wheat genotypes, selected from 20 genotypes as high- and low-yielding genotypes. Two N levels were applied from anthesis to maturity: high (½ Hoagland nutrient solution) and low (modified ½ Hoagland with one-third of N). Together with the agronomic characterization, grain quality analyses were assessed to characterize carbohydrates concentration, mineral composition, glutenin and gliadin concentrations, polyphenol profile, and anti-radical activity. Nitrogen supply improved wheat grain yield with no effect on thousand-grain weight. Grain soluble sugars and gluten fractions were increased, but starch concentration was reduced, under high N. Mineral composition and polyphenol concentrations were also improved by N application. High-yielding genotypes had higher grain carbohydrates concentrations, while higher concentrations in grain minerals, gluten fractions, and polyphenols were recorded in the low-yielding ones. Decreasing the amount of N to one-third ensured a better N use efficiency but reduced durum wheat agronomic and quality traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
RUST: A Robust, User-Friendly Script Tool for Rapid Measurement of Rust Disease on Cereal Leaves
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1182; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091182 - 11 Sep 2020
Viewed by 808
Abstract
Recently, phenotyping has become one of the main bottlenecks in plant breeding and fundamental plant science. This is particularly true for plant disease assessment, which has to deal with time-consuming evaluations and the subjectivity of visual assessments. In this work, we have developed [...] Read more.
Recently, phenotyping has become one of the main bottlenecks in plant breeding and fundamental plant science. This is particularly true for plant disease assessment, which has to deal with time-consuming evaluations and the subjectivity of visual assessments. In this work, we have developed an open source Robust, User-friendy Script Tool (RUST) for semi-automated evaluation of leaf rust diseases. RUST runs under the free Fiji imaging software (developed from ImageJ), which is a well-recognized software among the scientific community. The script enables the evaluation of leaf rust diseases using a color transformation tool and provides three different automation modes. The script opens images sequentially and records infection frequency (pustules per area) (semi-)automatically for high-throughput analysis. Furthermore, it can manage several scanned leaf segments in the same image, consecutively selecting the desired segments. The script has been validated with nearly 900 samples from 80 oat genotypes ranging from resistant to susceptible and from very light to heavily infected leaves showing a high accuracy with a Lin’s concordance correlation coefficient of 0.99. The analysis show a high repeatability as indicated by the low variation coefficients obtained when repeating the measurement of the same samples. The script also has optional steps for calibration and training to ensure accuracy, even in low-resolution images. This script can evaluate efficiently hundreds of leaves facilitating the screening of novel sources of resistance to this important cereal disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Effects of Gibberellin (GA4+7) in Grain Filling, Hormonal Behavior, and Antioxidants in High-Density Maize (Zea mays L.)
Plants 2020, 9(8), 978; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9080978 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 870
Abstract
Dense plant cultivation is an efficient approach to improve maize production by maximizing the utilization of energy and nutrients. However, dense plant populations may aggravate the abortion rate of young grains, resulting in fewer kernels per ear. The rate and duration of grain-filling [...] Read more.
Dense plant cultivation is an efficient approach to improve maize production by maximizing the utilization of energy and nutrients. However, dense plant populations may aggravate the abortion rate of young grains, resulting in fewer kernels per ear. The rate and duration of grain-filling play decisive roles in maize grain yield. Therefore, to increase plant density, enhancing the grain-filling rate, extending the growth period of individual maize plants and regulating crop senescence would be the first priority. In this study, we examined the regulatory effects of GA4+7 under two application methods: shanks and silks were moistened by cotton full with GA4+7 solution at concentrations of 0, 10, 60, and 120 mg L−1. The results showed that GA4+7 improved the grain-filling rate by increasing the content of auxin, gibberellin, zeatin, and abscisic acid in grains compared to control plants. In addition, the auxin, gibberellin, and zeatin contents in the grains were positively and significantly correlated with the maximum grain weight and the maximum and mean grain-filling rates. Moreover, GA4+7 increased the activities of superoxide dismutases, catalases, and peroxidases and reduced the malondialdehyde content in leaves compared with untreated plants. At the concentration of 60 mg L−1, GA4+7 showed the greatest effect on shank and silk applications (Sh-60 and Si-60) followed by 10 mg L−1 (Sh-10) for shank treatment and 120 mg L−1 (Si-120) for silk treatment. Our results suggest that a concentration of 60 mg L−1 GA4+7 for shank and silk application may be efficiently used for changing the level of hormones in grains and antioxidant enzymes in ear leaves, which may be useful for enhancing grain-filling rate and delaying leaf senescence, resulting in an increase in maize grain yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Physiology and Breeding)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop