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Effects of Multi-Stage Continuous Drought on Photosynthetic Characteristics, Yield and Water Use Efficiency of Winter Wheat

Daoxi Li1,*, Ruitao Lou1, Yanbin Li1, Zepeng Bian1, Ya’nan Zhu2

1 School of Water Conservancy, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, 450000, China
2 Changshu River Management Office, Changshu, 215500, China

* Corresponding Author: Daoxi Li. Email:

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2020, 89(3), 691-703.


A drought event can cause entire crops to fail or yield loss. In order to study the effects of continuous drought on photosynthetic characteristics, yield, and water use efficiency (WUE) of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), the winter wheat variety “Aikang 58” was selected as test material with controlling the water of the pot-planted winter wheat under a mobile rainout shelter. Based on foot planting and safe wintering, winter wheat was evaluated under different drought conditions, including light, moderate and severe drought at the jointing (B), heading (C), and filling (G) stages. The soil water content was controlled in a range of 60% to 70%, 50% to 60%, and 40% to 50% of the field capacity, respectively. In the experiment, there were 9 single-stage droughts, 3 three-stage droughts, and 1 test control (totaling 13 trials). The results are as follows: Under a single-stage drought, the change of net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and stomatal conductance (Gs) have similar trends, and they both decrease significantly with the severity of the drought. Under three-stage continuous droughts, the change curve of Gs shows a constant downward trend; the change curve of Pn showed a “valley shape,” and the minimum value of Pn appeared at the heading stage. All droughts will reduce the yield of winter wheat. Under the three-stage continuous drought conditions, except for light drought, moderate drought and severe drought will cause significant yield reduction, mainly due to lack of water at the jointing and heading stages. Continuous drought will reduce the WUE, and the difference will reach a significant level under moderate and severe drought. The present results suggested that when water resources are scarce, it is a better irrigation model to save water and achieve high grain yield by applying appropriate water stress (60%–70% FC) during the critical growth period of winter wheat.


Cite This Article

Li, D., Lou, R., Li, Y., Bian, Z., Zhu, Y. (2020). Effects of Multi-Stage Continuous Drought on Photosynthetic Characteristics, Yield and Water Use Efficiency of Winter Wheat. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 89(3), 691–703.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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