Effects of Night Temperature, Spikelet Position and Salicylic Acid on Yield and YieldRelated Parameters of Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Plants
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Periodic episodes of heat stress and seasonally high night temperatures (HNT) are predicted to occur more frequently in the current changing weather environment. These events affect aspects of crop growth and development, including oxidative-stress damage, reducing crop yield and quality. Salicylic acid (SA), a naturally occurring phenolic compound, associated with thermo-tolerance, prevents oxidative damage by detoxifying superoxide radicals and altering antioxidant capacity in plants. A study was conducted to determine the effects of HNT and SA on multiple rice yield-determining parameters with special emphasis on effects of HNT and SA at different spikelet positions in the panicle. Plants were grown under ambient night temperature (27 C) or HNT (32 C) in the greenhouse. They were subjected to HNT through use of continuously controlled infrared heaters, starting from 2000 h to 0600 h. The HNT did not affect productive tillers, main-stem panicle length or number of primary branches per panicle; however, reduced yield resulted from significant negative effects on spikelet fertility (SF), grain length and width. The grains located at the base of the panicle showed decreased fertility, length and width. Application of SA increased antioxidant capacity, thereby preventing damage to membranes, hence increasing yield by predominantly affecting SF in rice plants. 2010 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.