Breeding spring wheat for improved allelopathic potential

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2010
Authors:Bertholdsson, N-O
Journal:Weed Research
Date Published:2010
ISBN Number:1365-3180
Keywords:allelopathy, breeding, early vigour, Lolium, Lolium perenne, organic farming, Triticum, weed competition Triticum aestivum, Weed control

Bertholdsson N-O (2010). Breeding spring wheat for improved allelopathic potential. Weed Research50, 49–57.Summary It is becoming apparent that allelopathy plays a significant role in the competitive ability of cereals against weeds; barley, wheat and rice cultivars with high allelopathic activity have been identified. However, direct breeding efforts to improve allelopathy have to date only been reported in rice. In this study, a breeding programme in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum) was evaluated to determine the efficiency of selection of allelopathy and the ability of breeding lines to suppress weeds in the field. The material used originated from a cross between a Swedish cultivar with low allelopathic activity and a Tunisian cultivar with high allelopathic activity. Allelopathic activity was measured as growth inhibition of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) roots when grown together with the wheat cultivars on agar. For screening of F2 populations, a single plant bioassay was used for the first time. In the F6 and F7 generations, three breeding lines with an average improved allelopathy of 20% and one line with an unimproved allelopathy activity, but with the same phenotype as the high allelopathic lines, were tested together with the low allelopathic Swedish parent. The main result from the field study was a 19% average reduction of weed biomass for the high allelopathic lines, but no significant reduction of the low allelopathic breeding line. Early shoot length and early crop biomass (stages 37–39, Zadoks scale) and straw length of the high allelopathic lines were not significantly different from the Swedish parent. A negative effect was that grain yield was reduced by 9% in the high allelopathic lines. It is suggested that the reduced biomass of weeds in plots planted with the highly allelopathic wheat lines is related to differences in allelopathic activity and not differences in plant growth.

Short Title:Weed Research
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