Biomass production and distribution in seedlings of Coffea Arabica genotypes under contrasting nursery environments in southwestern Ethiopia


In Ethiopia, the natural forests with the occurrence of wild Arabica coffee gene pools are under constant threats, largely due to anthropogenic activities. The study was conducted to compare the variability among the wild arabica coffee genotypes in biomass assimilation and allocation patterns under varying light and irrigation conditions at the Jimma Research Center, southwestern Ethiopia. The treatments included irradiance (moderate and full sunlight), irrigation (well watered and water stressed) regimes and twelve coffee genotypes of different geographical areas. One-year-old seedlings were used to record dry mass of leaves, main stem, primary branches and root growth. Each organ was separately oven-dried and total dry matter production and allocation patterns were measured and analyzed. The results depicted highly significant differences between the contrasting irradiance and irrigation regimes as well as among coffee genotypes. Significantly the lowest and highest stems dry mass values recorded for Berhane-Kontir and Harenna genotypes, respectively. Most accessions had relatively lower assimilations in shade as compared to full sun light conditions. Likewise, coffee seedlings significantly differed in root dry mass and root to shoot ratio, dry matter partitioning due to the main and combined treatment effects. Overall, total biomass assimilation and partitioning were higher for unshaded, water stressed and Harenna genotypes from the respective treatment groups. Conversely, leaf dry matter, leaf share was significantly high under moderate shade environments. The total dry matter share varied for the seedling growth parts (root = 22%, leaf = 35%, stem = 43% and whole shoot = 78%). The root growth followed the order of Harenna > Yayu > Bonga > Berhane-Kontir populations. The reverse was true for the leaf and whole-shoots, demonstrating the completion between above and below ground growth parts and thus the need to consider both dry matter assimilation and partitioning patterns in identifying desirable genotypes and optimum environments for future breeding program in Ethiopia.

Share and Cite:

Kufa, T. (2012) Biomass production and distribution in seedlings of Coffea Arabica genotypes under contrasting nursery environments in southwestern Ethiopia. Agricultural Sciences, 3, 835-843. doi: 10.4236/as.2012.36101.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Wintgens, J.N. (2004) Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production. A guide for growers, traders, and researchers. WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co.KGaA, Weinheim, Germany.
[2] Chaves, R.M., Ten-Caten, A., Pinheiro, H.A., Ribeiro, A. and Damatta, F.M. (2008) Seasonal changes in photoprotective mechanisms of leaves from shaded and unshaded field-grown coffee (Coffea arabica L.) trees. Trees, 22, 351-361.
[3] Beer, J., Muschler, R.G., Kass, D. and Somarriba, E. (1998) Shade management in coffee and cacao plantations. Agroforestry Systems, 38, 139-164.
[4] DaMatta, F.M. (2004) Ecophysiological constraints on the production of shaded and unshaded coffee: a review. Field Crops Research, 86, 99-114.
[5] Franck, N., Vaast, P., Génard, M. and Dauzat, J. (2006) Soluble sugars mediate sink feedback down-regulation of leaf photosynthesis in field-grown Coffea arabica. Tree Physiology, 517-525.
[6] Wrigley, G. (1988) Coffee. Tropical Agriculture Series, London, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.
[7] Cannell, M.G.R. (1971) Production and distribution of dry matter in trees of Coffea arabica L. in Kenya as affected by seasonal climatic differences and the presence of fruits. Annn.appl. Biol., 67, 99-120.
[8] Devlin, R.M. and Witham, F.G. (1983) Plant physiology (4th ed.). CBS, New Delhi, India.
[9] Hale, M.G. and Orcutt, D.M. (1987) The physiology of plant under stress. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, USA.
[10] Bellachew, B. and Sacko, J.C. (2009) Coffee genetic resources under severe threat from genetic erosion in the centres of origin and diversity: an urgent need for conservation measures. Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Coffee Science (ASIC), September 14-19, 2008, Campinas, SP-Brazil, 1487-1496.
[11] Taye, K. (2010) Environmental sustainability and coffee diversity in Africa. Paper presented in International Coffee Organization (ICO) World Coffee Conference, 26-28 February 2010, Guatemala City. Available online at ttp:// presentations//wcc2010-kufa.pdf.
[12] Taye, K. (2006) Ecophysiological diversity of wild Arabica populations in Ethiopia: Growth, water relations and hydraulic characteristics along a climatic gradient. Ph.D. thesis, Ecology and Development Series, NO 46, Cuvillier Verlag, Gottingen.
[13] Taye, K., Mesfin, A. and Paulos, D. (2004) Dry matter production and distribution in Arabica coffee seedlings as affected by media components. In: Asfaw, Z., Getachew, B., Belay, S., Bulcha, W. and Nigussie, A. (eds.) Proceedings of the Tenth Crop Science Society of Ethiopia (CSSE), SEBIL, 10, 154-164.
[14] Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) (1996) Recommended Production Technologies for Coffee and Associated Crops. IAR, Jimma Agricultural Research Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17.
[15] Setter, T.L. (1992) Assimilate allocation in response to water deficit stress. International Crop Science of America, Inc., Madson, Wisconsin, USA.
[16] DaMatta, F.M., Loos, R.A., Silva, E.A. and Loureiro, M.E. (2002) Limitations to photosynthesis in Coffea canephora as a result of nitrogen and water availability. Journal of Plant Physiology, 9, 975-981.
[17] Yacob, E., Tesfaye, S., Taye, K., Alemseged, Y., Takele, N., Anteneh, N. and Bekele, B. (1996) Advances in coffee agronomy research in Ethiopia. In: Tenywa, J.S., Adipala Ekwamu, M.W. Ogengalatogo (eds). Proceedings of Inter-Africa Coffee Organization (IACO) Workshop, 4-6 Sept., 1995, Kampala, Uganda, 40-45.
[18] Burkhardt, J., Kufa, T, Beining, A, Goldbach, H. and Fetene, M. (2007) Different drought adaptation strategies of Coffea arabica populations along rainfall gradient in Ethiopia. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Coffee Science Colloquium (ASIC), 11-15 September 2006, Montpellier, France, 1032-1036.
[19] Taye, K. and Burkhardt, J. (2008) Ecophysiology of wild Coffea arabica populations in the montane rainforests of Ethiopia. Proceedings of a National Workshop, Four Decades of Coffee Research and Development in Ethiopia, 14-17 August 2007, Addis Ababa (Ghion Hotel), EIAR, Ethiopia, 140-149.
[20] Salisbury, F.B. and Ross, C. (1992) Plant physiology. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont, Califonia 94002, a division of Wadsworth, Inc.
[21] Prasad, M.N.V. (1997) Plant Ecophysiology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.
[22] Larcher, W. (2003) Physiological Plant Ecology: Ecophysiology and Stress Physiology of Functional Groups (Fourth ed.). Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, Germany.
[23] Tesfaye, S. (2006) Growth, water relation, yield and crop quality of Arabica coffee in response to water stress and deficit irrigation. Ph.D. Thesis, University Putra Malaysia.
[24] Hopkins, W.G. (1995) Introduction to plant physiology. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.
[25] Wareing, P.F. (1970) Growth and its coordination in trees. In: Physiology of tree crops. Luckmill, L.C. and Cutting, C.W. (eds.) London and New York, Academic Press.
[26] Russel, R.S. (1977) The plant root systems: Their function and interaction with the soil. MC Graw-Hill Book Company (UK) Limited Maidenhead, Berkshire, England.
[27] Gathaara, M.P.H., Muthur, F.M. and Cheruiyot, R.C. (1997) Biomass accumulation in the various plant organs of coffee Arabica L., cultivar Ruiru 11, under drip irrigation in Kenya, ASIC 17th Colloquium, Nairobi, 752-759.
[28] Pandey, S.N. and Sinha, B.K. (1996) Plant Physiology (3rd revised ed.). Vikas publishing house PVT LTD, New Delhi, India.
[29] Egli, D.B. (1988) Alternation in plant growth and dry matter distribution in soybean. Agron. J., 80, 86-90.
[30] Kufa, T. and Burkhardt, J. (2009) Morpho-agronomic characterization of seedlings of wild Coffea arabica accessions under controlled conditions in southwestern Ethiopia. Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Coffee Science (ASIC), September 14-19, 2008, Campinas, SP-Brazil, 1552-1562.

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.