J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2016, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (11): 914-926.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12478

• Plant-environmental Interactions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Wheat ear carbon assimilation and nitrogen remobilization contribute significantly to grain yield

Bangwei Zhou1,3, Maria Dolores Serret3, Abdelhalim Elazab3, Jordi Bort Pie3,José Luis Araus3, Iker Aranjuelo2 and Álvaro Sanz-Sáez3*   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology, Ministry of Education, Institute of Grassland Science, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China
    2Agrobiotechnology Institute, Public University of Navarra-CSIC-Navarra Government, Arrosadia Campus, E-31192-Mutilva Baja, Spain
    3Unit of Plant Physiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
  • Received:2016-02-23 Accepted:2016-03-14 Published:2016-03-18
  • About author:*Correspondence: E-mail: Álvaro Sanz-Sáez (alvaro_ssj@hotmail.com)


The role of wheat ears as a source of nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) in the grain filling process has barely been studied. To resolve this question, five wheat genotypes were labeled with 15N-enriched nutrient solution. N remobilization and absorption were estimated via the nitrogen isotope composition of total organic matter and Rubisco. Gas exchange analyses showed that ear photosynthesis contributed substantially to grain filling in spite of the great loss of C due to respiration. Of the total kernel N, 64.7% was derived from the N acquired between sowing and anthesis, while the remaining 35.3% was derived from the N acquired between anthesis and maturity. In addition, 1.87 times more N was remobilized to the developing kernel from the ear than from the flag leaf. The higher yielding genotypes showed an increased N remobilization to the kernel compared to the lower yielding genotypes. In addition, the higher yielding genotypes remobilized more N from the ears to the kernel than the lower yielding genotypes, while the lower yielding genotypes remobilized more N from the flag leaf to the kernel. Therefore, the ears contribute significantly toward fulfilling C and N demands during grain filling.

Key words: Carbon accumulation, ear, grain yield, nitrogen accumulation, Rubisco

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