Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (10): 1060-1068.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2017.0021

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Warming impacts on the dry matter accumulation, and translocation and nitrogen uptake and utilization of winter wheat on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau

Cheng-Yan ZHENG1, Ai-Xing DENG1, Hojatollah LATIFMANESH1, Zhen-Wei SONG1, Jun ZHANG1, Li WANG2, Wei-Jian ZHANG1,*()   

  1. 1Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences/Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology & Ecology, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100081, China;
    2Tibet Vocational Technical College, Lhasa 850000, China
  • Online:2017-10-10 Published:2017-12-24
  • Contact: Wei-Jian ZHANG


Aims Global warming is expected to be the strongest in high altitude mountainous areas, which are more ecologically fragile and economically marginalized. The Qinghai-Xizang Plateau is among such areas most vulnerable to global warming, and more than 80% of its population depends on subsistence agriculture. The aim of this study is to understand the impacts of warming on indigenous crop production, which can help to devise better strategies for crop adaptation and food security in this area.Methods A field warming experiment using a facility of free air temperature increase was conducted to simulate the predicted warming level in Caigongtang town, Lhasa City, China. The experiment consisting of two treatments (warmed and non-warmed) was performed using a completely random design with three replicates. An infrared heater (180 cm in length and 20 cm in width) of 1 500 W was suspended 1.5 m above the ground in each warmed plot. In each non-warmed plot, a ‘dummy’ heater of same dimensions was also suspended to mimic the shading effects. The warming treatment was performed from the sown date to the harvest date. We measured dry matter and nitrogen accumulation, partition and translocation of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) using ‘Shandong 6’ under warming and control treatments.Important findings Results showed that, with 1.1 °C increase in daily mean air temperature during winter wheat growing season, the dry matter accumulation rate at population level from sowing to anthesis stage, grain dry matter partition ratio and contribution of dry matter translocation amount to grain after anthesis were 27.5%, 5.6% and 68.6% higher, respectively, in the warmed plots than those in the non-warmed plots. Meanwhile, warming increased nitrogen accumulation rate at population level of winter wheat. Nitrogen distribution proportions in grain and nitrogen translocation efficiency from vegetative organs to grain after anthesis in the warmed treatment were 6.0% and 5.5% higher than those in the non-warmed treatment, respectively. Compared with non-warmed treatment, warming decreased harvest index by 3.1%, though the difference was not statistically significant. Grain yield, nitrogen uptake efficiency, nitrogen partial factor productivity and nitrogen harvest index were 8.1%, 20.8%, 8.1% and 6.0% higher, respectively, in the warmed plots than those in the non-warmed plots. In conclusion, an increase in daily mean air temperature of about 1.1 °C can enhance plant growth during the pre-anthesis phase by mitigating the low temperature limitation, and accelerate dry matter and nitrogen partition and translocation to the grain after anthesis in winter wheat. These results suggest that warming may benefit winter wheat production through increasing nitrogen use efficiency in high altitude areas.

Key words: climate change, free air temperature increase, winter wheat, grain yield, nitrogen use efficiency