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1.  Floral bud damage compensation by branching and biomass allocation in genotypes of Brassica napus with different architecture and branching potential 
Plant branching is a key process in the yield elaboration of winter oilseed rape (WOSR). It is also involved in plant tolerance to flower damage because it allows the setting of new fertile inflorescences. Here we characterize the changes in the branching and distribution of the number of pods between primary and secondary inflorescences in response to floral bud clippings. Then we investigate the impacts of the modifications in branching on the biomass allocation and its consequence on the crop productivity (harvest index). These issues were addressed on plants with contrasted architecture and branching potential, using three genotypes (Exocet, Pollen, and Gamin) grown under two levels of nitrogen fertilization. Clipping treatments of increasing intensities were applied to either inflorescences or flower buds. We were able to show that restoration of the number of pods after clipping is the main lever for the compensation. Genotypes presented different behaviors in branching and biomass allocation as a function of clipping treatments. The number of fertile ramifications increased for the high intensities of clipping. In particular, the growth of secondary ramifications carried by branches developed before clipping has been observed. The proportions of yield and of number of pods carried by these secondary axes increased and became almost equivalent to the proportion carried by primary inflorescences. In terms of biomass allocation, variations have also been evidenced in the relationship between pod dry mass on a given axis and the number of pods set, while the shoot/root ratio was not modified. The harvest index presented different responses: it decreased after flower buds clipping, while it was maintained after the clipping of the whole inflorescences. The results are discussed relative to their implications regarding the identification of interesting traits to be target in breeding programs in order to improve WOSR tolerance.
doi:10.3389/fpls.2015.00070
PMCID: PMC4338677  PMID: 25759703
winter oilseed rape; Brassica napus; architecture; biomass allocation; harvest index; allometry; plasticity; plant resilience
2.  Characterization of the interactions between architecture and source–sink relationships in winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus) using the GreenLab model 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(5):765-779.
Background and Aims
This study aimed to characterize the interaction between architecture and source–sink relationships in winter oilseed rape (WOSR): do the costs of ramification compromise the source–sink ratio during seed filling? The GreenLab model is a good candidate to address this question because it has been already used to describe interactions between source–sink relationships and architecture for other species. However, its adaptation to WOSR is a challenge because of the complexity of its developmental scheme, especially during the reproductive phase.
Methods
Equations were added in GreenLab to compute expansion delays for ramification, flowering of each axis and photosynthesis of pods including the energetic cost of oil synthesis. Experimental field data were used to estimate morphological parameters while source–sink parameters of the model were estimated by adjustment of model outputs to the data. Ecophysiological outputs were used to assess the sources/sink relationships during the whole growth cycle.
Key Results
First results indicated that, at the plant scale, the model correctly simulates the dynamics of organ growth. However, at the organ scale, errors were observed that could be explained either by secondary growth that was not incorporated or by uncertainties in morphological parameters (durations of expansion and life). Ecophysiological outputs highlighted the dramatic negative impact of ramification on the source–sink ratio, as well as the decrease in this ratio during seed filling despite pod envelope photosynthesis that allowed significant biomass production to be maintained.
Conclusions
This work is a promising first step in the construction of a structure–function model for a plant as complex as WOSR. Once tested for other environments and/or genotypes, the model can be used for studies on WOSR architectural plasticity.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcq205
PMCID: PMC3077979  PMID: 20980324
Biological system modelling; source–sink relationships; ramification; GreenLab model; energetic cost; oleaginous seeds; Brassica napus; winter oilseed rape

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