Determination of Moisture Deficit and Heat Stress Tolerance in Corn Using Physiological Measurements and a Low-Cost Microcontroller-Based Monitoring System

Kebede, H. and Fisher, D. K. and Young, L. D. (2012) Determination of Moisture Deficit and Heat Stress Tolerance in Corn Using Physiological Measurements and a Low-Cost Microcontroller-Based Monitoring System. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 198 (2). pp. 118-129.

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In the southern United States, corn production encounters moisture deficit coupled with high-temperature stress, particularly during the reproductive stage of the plant. In evaluating plants for environmental stress tolerance, it is important to monitor changes in their physical environment under natural conditions, especially when there are multiple stress factors, and integrate this information with their physiological responses. A low-cost microcontroller-based monitoring system was developed to automate measurement of canopy, soil and air temperatures, and soil moisture status in field plots. The purpose of this study was to examine how this system, in combination with physiological measurements, could assist in detecting differences among corn genotypes in response to moisture deficit and heat stress. Three commercial hybrids and two inbred germplasm lines were grown in the field under irrigated and non-irrigated conditions. Leaf water potential, photosynthetic pigments, cell membrane thermostability (CMT) and maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) were determined on these genotypes under field and greenhouse conditions. Variations observed in air and soil temperatures, and soil moisture in plots of the individual corn genotypes helped explain their differences in canopy temperature (CT), and these variations were reflected in the physiological responses. One of the commercial hybrids, having the lowest CT and the highest CMT, was the most tolerant among the genotypes under moisture deficit and heat stress conditions. These results demonstrated that the low-cost microcontroller-based monitoring system, in combination with physiological measurements, was effective in evaluating corn genotypes for drought and heat stress tolerance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The authors wish to thank Mr. Kevin Colvin, Electronics Technician, for his electronics expertise and assistance in designing and constructing the circuit boards, and for his assistance in field testing of the instrumentation, and Mr. Roderick Patterson, Agricultural Science Research Technician, for his expertise and assistance in field operations during this study. We also wish to thank Mrs. Debbie Boykin for her assistance in statistical analysis of the data. The study was executed with support from the research project 6402-42000-003-000, USDA-ARS.
Uncontrolled Keywords: canopy temperature;cell membrane thermostability;drought stress;heat stress;microcontroller;photosynthetic pigments
Author Affiliation: USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Crop Genetics Research Unit, Stoneville, MS, USA
Subjects: Plant Production
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2012 03:24
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2012 03:24
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