Evaluation and Selection of High Biomass Rice (Oryza sativa L.) for Drought Tolerance


Biomass production is important in increasing yield not only for food but also for bio-fuel production that depends on high dry matter. Due to climate change, occurrence of drought may be prevalent and this affects both grain and biomass yields in crops including rice. The objectives of this study were to determine the performance of selected high biomass breeding rice lines to different levels of drought and use several drought tolerance indices to identify best genotypes that could be grown in unfavorable water stressed areas. A rainfed and flooded trial was conducted to evaluate 20 selected breeding lines for biomass production and ten entries from the same set were grown in the greenhouse at three different field capacities (FC, 50%, 75%, 100%). Most of the genotypes performed well under non-stressed conditions (flooded and 100% FC) but some genotypes performed well in water stressed condition. The plants had lower plant height, tiller plant-1, and total biomass at maturity under rainfed conditions and their flowering was delayed compared to flooded conditions. In the greenhouse, water stress slowed the rate of increase in height, and produced lower shoot and root weight, percent dry matter (% DM) and total biomass. However, drought enhanced the rate of tiller production. Two genotypes were found to more tolerant to drought stress and could be used for cultivation under water stress condition to get optimum biomass yields. These genotypes can be identified using drought tolerance indices, particularly stress tolerance index (STI), geometric mean productivity (GMP), mean productivity (MP) and harmonic mean (HARM), as these have a similar ability to separate drought sensitive and tolerant genotypes. Genetic and molecular analyses, and detailed characterization of these genotypes will help understand their inheritance pattern and the number of genes controlling the traits and determine specific leaves and root traits important in developing high biomass rice.

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Kondhia, A. , Escleto Tabien, R. and Ibrahim, A. (2015) Evaluation and Selection of High Biomass Rice (Oryza sativa L.) for Drought Tolerance. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 1962-1972. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.612197.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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