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Transient low-light stress and the effects on tassel quality in maize

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247464D
Publication Date: 2016-Sep-08
Document File: 1 page(s) / 1M

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Elizabeth Trecker: OWNER

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Transient low-light stress and the effects on tassel quality in maize

Daily light integral (DLI), as measured by moles of photons m-2 d-1, accounts for the photoperiod the plants experience, but also the intensity of light they receive.  In a greenhouse environment, DLI is subject to seasonal variability as well as daily fluctuations from transient weather conditions.  Supplemental light can help offset some of the variability, but in seasonal or daily extremes, light can still be a limiting factor for plant growth and development.

Maize is a high-light requiring plant, and for year-round growth of high-quality maize in greenhouses, we must understand the impact that a low-light environment can have on maize plants.  In the winter months, barren tassels are often observed within a greenhouse across diverse genotypes.  Once barren tassel symptoms are visible the damage is irreversible.  The plant will not produce any new anthers and, therefore, will be limited for pollen productivity. 

With a DLI of at least 20 mols m-2 d-1, maize plants thrive developing full ears and tassels; however the average DLI within a greenhouse can be less than half that target during winter months.  We have demonstrated that a low light stress of 9.3 moles m-2 d-1 for seven consecutive days significantly impacts maize tassel development across genetic backgrounds.  In addition, we have identified the most susceptible developmental stage that low light stress impacts for each genotype.  The...