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The Use of Chlorophyll Meter Readings for the Selection of Maize Inbred Lines under Drought Stress

Authors: F. Gekas, C. Pankou, I. Mylonas, E. Ninou, E. Sinapidou, A. Lithourgidis, F. Papathanasiou, J. –K. Petrevska, F. Papadopoulou, P. Zouliamis, G. Tsaprounis, I. Tokatlidis, C. Dordas


The present study aimed to investigate whether chlorophyll meter readings (SPAD) can be used as criterion of singleplant selection in maize breeding. Experimentation was performed at the ultra-low density of 0.74 plants/m2 in order the potential yield per plant to be fully expressed. R-31 honeycomb experiments were conducted in three different areas in Greece (Thessaloniki, Giannitsa and Florina) using 30 inbred lines at well-watered and water-stressed conditions during the 2012 growing season. The chlorophyll meter readings had higher rates at dry conditions, except location of Giannitsa where differences were not significant. Genotypes of highest chlorophyll meter readings were consistent across areas, emphasizing on the character’s stability. A positive correlation between the chlorophyll meter readings and grain yield was strengthening over time and culminated at the physiological maturity stage. There was a clear sign that the chlorophyll meter readings has the potential to be used for the selection of stress-adaptive genotypes and may permit modern maize to be grown at wider range of environments addressing the climate change scenarios.

Keywords: Zea mays, Drought-prone environments, honeycomb breeding, SPAD

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