Effect of nitrogen supply on stay-green sorghum in differing post-flowering water regimes. Academic Article uri icon


  • The expression of stay-green (SG) characteristic in sorghum under water stress was related to N supply. SG genotype performed better than a non-stay-green (NSG) genotype at medium and high N levels. The differences in physiological parameters between SG and NSG genotypes were not significant at low N level and severe water stress. Grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] with stay-green (SG) trait has the potential to produce more biomass and use soil water and nitrogen (N) more efficiently under post-flowering water stress. Previous studies were mostly conducted without N deficiency and more information is needed for interactions among soil N availability, SG genotype, and post-flowering water stress. In this study, the differences in leaf growth and senescence, shoot and root biomass, evapotranspiration (ET), water use efficiency (WUE), leaf photosynthetic responses, and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) between a SG genotype (BTx642) and a non-stay-green (NSG) genotype (Tx7000) were examined. The two genotypes were grown at three N levels (Low, LN; Medium, MN; High, HN) and under three post-flowering water regimes (No water deficit, ND; Moderate water deficit, MD; Severe water deficit, SD). The genotypic difference was generally significant while it frequently interacted with N levels and water regimes. At medium and high N levels, SG genotype consistently had greater green leaf area, slower senescence rate, more shoot biomass and root biomass, and greater WUE and NUE than the NSG genotype under post-flowering drought. However, differences in several variables (e.g., leaf senescence, ET, WUE and NUE) between genotypes were not significant under SD at LN. At HN and MN, photosynthetic function of SG genotype was better maintained under drought. At LN, SG genotype maintained greater green leaf area but had lower photosynthetic activity than the NSG genotype. Nonetheless, adequate N supply is important for SG genotype under drought and greater root biomass may contribute to greater NUE in SG genotype.

published proceedings

  • Planta

author list (cited authors)

  • Hou, X., Xue, Q., Jessup, K. E., Zhang, Y., Blaser, B., Stewart, B. A., & Baltensperger, D. D.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Hou, Xiaobo||Xue, Qingwu||Jessup, Kirk E||Zhang, Yinghua||Blaser, Brock||Stewart, BA||Baltensperger, David D

publication date

  • September 2021