Changes in leaf epicuticular wax load and its effect on leaf temperature and physiological traits in wheat cultivars (Triticum aestivum L.) exposed to high temperatures during anthesis Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 Blackwell Verlag GmbH The physiological functions of epicuticular wax (EW) include reflectance of irradiation and the reduction of water loss. When a plant experiences stressful conditions, most notably, high irradiance and temperature, damage to the photosynthetic apparatus can occur and is signalled by a decrease in the Fv/Fmax ratio. In this study, we examined the influence of increased EW on physiological function in terms of chlorophyll fluorescence (ChFl), stomatal conductance (gs), leaf temperature and spectral reflectance indices (SRI) of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars. The wheat cultivars were subjected to high temperature stress (HT) (3840C) under greenhouse conditions when the primary inflorescence was fully emerged to determine its effect on leaf EW deposition. Leaf temperature depression (LTD) was generally lower in control (2.3C2012, 0.94C2013) compared to HT stress (3.13C2012, 4.05C2013). Cultivars in control (0.69 to 0.74 Fv/Fmax) had significantly higher ChFl compared to HT (0.58 to 0.74 Fv/Fmax). HT treatment resulted in higher EW (1.282012, 4.59mg dm22013) compared to control treatment (1.042012 to 4.56mg dm22013). Leaves devoid of EW showed significant variation among cultivars at reproductive stages for water index (WI), normalized phaeophytinization index (NPQI) and simple ratio index (SRI). In HT stress conditions, significant correlations were observed between EWL and SRI only at 3DAFE (days after full emergence), suggesting that increased EWL induced by HT and irradiation in early development may provide relief and prevent grain loss. EWL significantly associated with the physiological traits ChFl, gs, LTD and spike temperature depression (SpTD). These observations suggest that EWL may lessen the effect of high irradiance, thereby, effectively adjusting stomatal conductance, ChFl and leaf temperature, limiting the risk of over excitation of photosystem II.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Huggins, T. D., Mohammed, S., Sengodon, P., Ibrahim, A., Tilley, M., & Hays, D. B.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Huggins, TD||Mohammed, S||Sengodon, P||Ibrahim, AMH||Tilley, M||Hays, DB

publication date

  • February 2018