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1.  Differences in responses to flooding by germinating seeds of two contrasting rice cultivars and two species of economically important grass weeds 
AoB Plants  2014;6:plu064.
Barnyard grasses are serious weeds in direct seeded rice. We assessed the effectiveness of using controlled flooding for its control using two rice cultivars and two barnyard grasses contrasting in flood tolerance during germination. Flooding with 100 mm water after seeding suppressed barnyard grasses; but delaying flooding by 2-4 days was ineffective. Flooding increased the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase and pyruvate decarboxylase; the increase was higher in the tolerant rice cultivar but similar in both barnyard grasses. Aldehyde dehydrogenase activity increased only in flood-tolerant types of rice and weeds, but not in flood-sensitive types, implying potential role in tolerance.
Crop productivity is largely affected by abiotic factors such as flooding and by biotic factors such as weeds. Although flooding after direct seeding of rice helps suppress weeds, it also can adversely affects germination and growth of rice, resulting in poor crop establishment. Barnyard grasses (Echinochloa spp.) are among the most widespread weeds affecting rice, especially under direct seeding. The present work aimed to establish effective management options to control these weeds. We assessed the effects of variable depths and time of submergence on germination, seedling growth and carbohydrate metabolism of (i) two cultivars of rice known to differ in their tolerance to flooding during germination and (ii) two barnyard grasses (Echinochloa colona and E. crus-galli) that commonly infest rice fields. Flooding barnyard grasses with 100-mm-deep water immediately after seeding was effective in suppressing germination and growth. Echinochloa colona showed greater reductions in emergence, shoot and root growth than E. crus-galli. Delaying flooding for 2 or 4 days was less injurious to both species. Echinochloa colona was also more susceptible to flooding than the flood-sensitive rice cultivar ‘IR42’. The activity of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) in rice seedlings was increased by flooding after sowing but with greater increases in ‘Khao Hlan On’ compared with ‘IR42’. The activity of ADH and PDC was enhanced to a similar extent in both barnyard grasses. Under aerobic conditions, the activity of ADH and PDC in the two barnyard grasses was downregulated, which might contribute to their inherently faster growth compared with rice. Aldehyde dehydrogenase activity was significantly enhanced in flood-tolerant ‘Khao Hlan On’ and E. crus-galli, but did not increase in flood-sensitive E. colona and ‘IR42’, implying a greater ability of the flood-tolerant types to detoxify acetaldehyde generated during anaerobic fermentation. Confirmation of this hypothesis is now being sought.
doi:10.1093/aobpla/plu064
PMCID: PMC4243074  PMID: 25336336
Alcohol dehydrogenase; aldehyde dehydrogenase; anaerobic germination; barnyard grass; direct-seeded rice; Echinochloa colona; Echinochloa crus-galli; fermentative metabolism; pyruvate decarboxylase; rice weeds.
2.  Adaptation to flooding during emergence and seedling growth in rice and weeds, and implications for crop establishment 
AoB Plants  2012;2012:pls019.
Direct seeding is replacing transplanting in rice. Early flooding suppresses weeds but selective action is compromised by the sharing of flood-tolerance traits. Understanding adaptive traits in both species is therefore a prerequisite for developing direct seeding systems that control weeds while leaving rice seedlings relatively unharmed.
Background and aims
Direct seeding of rice is being adopted in rainfed and irrigated lowland ecosystems because it reduces labour costs in addition to other benefits. However, early flooding due to uneven fields or rainfall slows down seed germination and hinders crop establishment. Conversely, early flooding helps suppress weeds and reduces the costs of manual weeding and/or dependence on herbicides; however, numerous weed species are adapted to lowlands and present challenges for the use of flooding to control weeds. Advancing knowledge on the mechanisms of tolerance of flooding during germination and early growth in rice and weeds could facilitate the development of improved rice varieties and effective weed management practices for direct-seeded rice.
Principal results
Rice genotypes with a greater ability to germinate and establish in flooded soils were identified, providing opportunities to develop varieties suitable for direct seeding in flooded soils. Tolerance of flooding in these genotypes was mostly attributed to traits associated with better ability to mobilize stored carbohydrates and anaerobic metabolism. Limited studies were undertaken in weeds associated with lowland rice systems. Remaining studies compared rice and weeds and related weed species such as Echinochloa crus-galli and E. colona or compared ecotypes of the same species of Cyperus rotundus adapted to either aerobic or flooded soils.
Conclusions
Tolerant weeds and rice genotypes mostly developed similar adaptive traits that allow them to establish in flooded fields, including the ability to germinate and elongate faster under hypoxia, mobilize stored starch reserves and generate energy through fermentation pathways. Remarkably, some weeds developed additional traits such as larger storage tubers that enlarge further in deeper flooded soils (C. rotundus). Unravelling the mechanisms involved in adaptation to flooding will help design management options that will allow tolerant rice genotypes to adequately establish in flooded soils while simultaneously suppressing weeds.
doi:10.1093/aobpla/pls019
PMCID: PMC3434364  PMID: 22957137
3.  Morphological and physiological responses of lowland purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.) to flooding 
AoB Plants  2010;2010:plq010.
Comparing a lowland and an upland ecotype of Cyperus rotundus, the former had greater carbohydrate reserves in tubers, thicker roots and stems with larger air spaces and, under hypoxia, it maintained relatively lower activities of alcohol dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase.
Background and aims
Purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.) is a major weed of upland crops and vegetables. Recently, a flood-tolerant ecotype evolved as a serious weed in lowland rice. This study attempted to establish the putative growth and physiological features that led to this shift in adaptation.
Methodology
Tubers of upland C. rotundus (ULCR) and lowland C. rotundus (LLCR) ecotypes were collected from their native habitats and maintained under the respective growth conditions in a greenhouse. Five experiments were conducted to assess the variation between the two ecotypes in germination, growth and tuber morphology when grown in their native or ‘switched’ conditions. Carbohydrate storage and mobilization, and variation in anaerobic respiration under hypoxia were compared.
Principal results
Tubers of LLCR were larger than those of ULCR, with higher carbohydrate content, and larger tubers developed with increasing floodwater depth. Stems of LLCR had larger diameter and proportionally larger air spaces than those of ULCR: a method of aerating submerged plant parts. The LLCR ecotype can also mobilize and use carbohydrate reserves under hypoxia, and it maintained relatively lower and steadier activity of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) as a measure of sustained anaerobic respiration. In contrast, ADH activity in ULCR increased faster upon a shift to hypoxia and then sharply decreased, suggesting depletion of available soluble sugar substrates. The LLCR ecotype also maintained lower lactate dehydrogenase activity under flooded conditions, which could reduce chances of cellular acidosis.
Conclusions
These adaptive traits in the LLCR ecotype were expressed constitutively, but some of them, such as tuber growth and aerenchyma development, are enhanced with stress severity. The LLCR ecotype attained numerous adaptive traits that could have evolved as a consequence of natural evolution or repeated management practices, and alternative strategies are necessary because flooding is no longer a feasible management option.
doi:10.1093/aobpla/plq010
PMCID: PMC3000701  PMID: 22476068

Results 1-3 (3)