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Effect of Pre-Anthesis Drought Hardening on Post-Anthesis Physiological Characteristics, Yield and WUE in Winter Wheat

Ruitao Lou1, Daoxi Li1,*, Yanbin Li1, Zepeng Bian1, Yanan Zhu2
1 School of Water Conservancy, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, 450000, China
2 Changshu River Management Office, Changshu, 215500, China
* Corresponding Author: Daoxi Li. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Plant Physiology for Crop Production and Sustainable Agriculture)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2021, 90(1), 245-257.

Received 31 August 2020; Accepted 20 October 2020; Issue published 20 November 2020


A drought event can cause yield loss or entire crops to fail. In order to study the effects of continuous drought on physiological characteristics, yield, and water use efficiency (WUE) of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), the variety “Zhoumai 22” was grown in controlled water conditions of the pot-planted winter wheat under a mobile rainout shelter. Foot planting and safe wintering were used to evaluate, winter wheat under different drought conditions, including light, moderate and severe drought at the jointing, heading, and filling stages. The soil water content was controlled at 60–70%, 50–60%, or 40–50% of field capacity. Experimental trials included 3 pre-anthesis drought hardening, 3 three-stage continuous drought, and 1 test control conditions. Under drought stress conditions, winter wheat leaf water potential, soil plant analysis development (SPAD), photosynthesis parameters, and yield declined due to pre-anthesis drought hardening. And the degree of decline: continuous drought > pre-anthesis drought hardening. Changes in the post-anthesis photosynthetic capacity of winter wheat were mainly related to the pre-anthesis drought level, rather than post-anthesis rehydration. The threshold of non-stomata limiting factors caused by photosynthesis at the filling stage is 40–50%FC, while comprehensive yield and WUE affected, the yield in severe drought treatments was the most significant, B3C3 and B3C3G3 decreased by 55.68% and 55.88%, respectively. Pre-anthesis drought was the main reason for the decreased crop yield. Thus, severe drought should be avoided during planting, while pre-anthesis light drought is a suitable choice for water-saving and crop production, as proper pre-anthesis drought hardening (60–70% FC) is feasible and effective.


Triticum aestivum L; pre-anthesis drought hardening; leaf water potential; SPAD; yield; WUE

Cite This Article

Lou, R., Li, D., Li, Y., Bian, Z., Zhu, Y. (2021). Effect of Pre-Anthesis Drought Hardening on Post-Anthesis Physiological Characteristics, Yield and WUE in Winter Wheat. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 90(1), 245–257.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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