Light interception and radiation use efficiency of fern- and unifoliate-leaf chickpea cultivars.

Li, L., Bueckert, R.A., Gan, Y.T., and Warkentin, T.D. (2008). "Light interception and radiation use efficiency of fern- and unifoliate-leaf chickpea cultivars.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 88(6), pp. 1025-1034. doi : 10.4141/CJPS07056  Access to full text


A chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) crop with rapid leaf development, high solar radiation interception, and efficient use of radiation can maximize the yield potential in a short-season typical of the Northern Great Plains. This study determined the effects of cultivars varying in leaf architecture on light interception (LI) and radiation use efficiency (RUE) in chickpea. Six kabuli chickpea cultivars with fern and unifoliate-leaf traits were grown under low (45 plants m-2) and high (85 plants m-2) population density at Saskatoon and Swift Current, Saskatchewan, in 2003 and 2004. Fern-leaf cultivars achieved consistently higher maximum LI, and greater cumulative intercepted radiation than cultivars with the unifoliate-leaf. Estimated RUE varied largely with growing season, but did not differ among cultivars or between plant populations. Compared with low plant population, high plant population resulted in greater maximum LI in only 1 out of 4 location-years, but higher cumulative intercepted radiation in 3out of 4 location-years. Our results indicated that future high-yielding kabuli chickpea cultivars for short seasons will benefit from increased canopy LI and seasonal cumulative intercepted radiation via the fern-leaf trait, although the fern-leaf does not further increase RUE. Use of fern-leaf cultivars, coupled with adoption of strategies that promote a rapid canopy development and improved radiation interception are keys to maximizing chickpea yield potential in the short-seasons experienced in the Northern Great Plains.

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