Root traits confer grain yield advantages under terminal drought in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.)

Purushothaman, R and Krishnamurthy, L and Upadhyaya, H D and Vadez, V and Varshney, R K (2017) Root traits confer grain yield advantages under terminal drought in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Field Crops Research, 201. pp. 146-161. ISSN 03784290

PDF (It is an Open Access article) - Published Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


Chickpea, the second most important legume crop, suffers major yield losses by terminal drought stress (DS). Stronger root system is known to enhance drought yields but this understanding remains controversial. To understand precisely the root traits contribution towards yield, 12 chickpea genotypes with well-known drought response were field evaluated under drought and optimal irrigation. Root traits, such as root length density (RLD), total root dry weight (RDW), deep root dry weight (deep RDW) and root:shoot ratio (RSR), were measured periodically by soil coring up to 1.2 m soil depth across drought treatments. Large variations were observed for RLD, RDW, deep RDW and RSR in both the drought treatments. DS increased RLD below 30 cm soil depth, deep RDW, RSR but decreased the root diameter. DS increased the genetic variation in RDW more at the penultimate soil depths. Genetic variation under drought was the widest for RLD ∼50 DAS, for deep RDW ∼50–75 DAS and for RSR at 35 DAS. Genotypes ICC 4958, ICC 8261, Annigeri, ICC 14799, ICC 283 and ICC 867 at vegetative stage and genotypes ICC 14778, ICCV 10, ICC 3325, ICC 14799 and ICC 1882 at the reproductive phase produced greater RLD. Path- and correlation coefficients revealed strong positive contributions of RLD after 45 DAS, deep RDW at vicinity of maturity and RSR at early podfill stages to yield under drought. Breeding for the best combination of profuse RLD at surface soil depths, and RDW at deeper soil layers, was proposed to be the best selection strategy, for an efficient water use and an enhanced terminal drought tolerance in chickpea.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Genetic Gains
Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Deep roots; Drought tolerance; Field phenotyping; Root length density; Root:shoot ratio; Soil coring; Chickpea; Genotypes; Root traits; Root system development
Subjects: Mandate crops > Chickpea
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2016 09:52
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2016 09:52
Official URL:
Funders: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Acknowledgement: This work was fully supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a Generation Challenge Program grant (G4008-12. Linking genetic diversity with phenotype for drought tolerance traits through molecular and physiological characterization of a diverse reference collection of chickpea). The technical support of Mr J. Shankaraiah in managing the field experiments is gratefully acknowledged.
View Statistics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item