Boron accumulation and partitioning in wheat cultivars with contrasting tolerance to boron deficiency

Kalidas Subedi, Peter J. Gregory, Michael Gooding

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Two pot experiments at the Plant Environment Laboratory (PEL), Reading, UK investigated sterility, boron (B) accumulation and B partitioning of wheat cultivars grown with limited B in the growing medium. The first experiment evaluated nine cultivars of spring wheat with diverse field responses to low available soil B, supplied with or without 20 μM B. A second experiment examined the response of a susceptible (SW-41) and a tolerant (Fang-60) cultivar to B-deficiency. These cultivars were supplied with either 20 μM B from sowing to flag leaf emergence and no added B thereafter, or 20 μM B from sowing to maturity. When B was not supplied in the nutrient solution, the number of grains ranged from 4 per ear (cv. BL-1135) to 32 per ear (cv. BL-1249) and sterility of competent florets ranged from 39% to 93%. Boron concentration in the flag leaf at anthesis did not differ greatly when the growing medium contained limited B, but differences between cultivars were evident when B was unlimited. Tolerance of B-deficiency was not related to the B concentration in the flag leaf. Some cultivars produced viable pollen and set grains while others failed to do so at similar B concentrations in the flag leaf. The two contrasting cultivars did not differ much in their pattern of B partitioning when B supply was restricted from flag leaf emergence onwards. Similarly, little evidence was found that the tolerant cultivars translocated B from their leaves, roots or stems when the supply in the growing medium was restricted. The proportion of total B partitioned in different organs was the same irrespective of B supply and cultivar. On average, leaves contained 68% of the total B content in the whole plant compared to 16% in the roots, 10% in the ears and only 6% in the stems. Tolerant or susceptible cultivars of wheat could not be distinguished based on the B concentration and B content of the flag leaf.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141–152
Number of pages12
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999


  • Boron
  • Genotypic difference
  • Sterility
  • Triticum aestivum
  • Wheat


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