Effect of water stress on growth and biomass yield of contrasting genotypes of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum)

  • YA Abayomi Sugar Research Institute, University of Ilorin, P. M. B. 1515, Ilorin, Nigeria
  • OJ Lawal Sugar Research Institute, University of Ilorin, P. M. B. 1515, Ilorin, Nigeria

Abstract

Effect of water stress on expansive growth measured as leaf extension rate (LER) and plant height of five Selected lines of sugarcane (BD 83/019, BD 83/035, IB 85/43, USRI 86/4, and USRI 86/25) was investigated in a screenhouse trial at Unilorin Sugar Research Institute farm. The effect of water stress on biomass yield was also evaluated. Water stress was induced by differential watering intervals of daily, 4, and 10 days corresponding to 100 (no stress), 60 (moderate stress), and 25 per cent (severe stress) soil available water (determined gravimetrically). LER, hence leaf length and plant height, showed significant responses to water stress, decreasing when water is limiting. The results of this study also showed ontogenetic variations in the responses of leaves at different positions to water stress. Similarly, there were genotypic differences in leaf and plant height responses of the investigated lines to water stress, which were found to be related to the effect of water stress on biomass yields of the lines. Consequently, it was concluded that measurement of expansive growth could be very useful for distinguishing between genotypes in their responses to water stress; hence, a promising technique for screening for drought tolerance in sugarcane. The advantages of the techniques are also discussed.

Ghana Jnl agric. Sci. Vol.31(1) 1998: 73-80
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