Changes in the photosynthetic efficiency of winter wheat in response to abiotic stress

Krisztina Balla, Szilvia Bencze, Péter Bónis, Tamás Árendás, Ottó Veisz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The assessment of heat and drought tolerance is of primary importance in breeding programmes designed to improve heat and drought tolerance in cereals. Three winter wheat varieties grown in controlled growth chambers were exposed to heat (H) and drought (D) stress singly and in combination (H+D). The combined effects of H and D stress were much more severe than those of individual treatments for both physiological and yield parameters during grain filling. The chlorophyll content, effective quantum yield of PSII, net assimilation rate, transpiration, stomatal conductance and intercellular CO2 concentration were greatly reduced by H, D and their interaction. Grain yield decreased to a greater extent (48.3%) in Plainsman V, averaged over the stress treatments, than in Mv Magma (67.8%) and Fatima 2 (53.7%). The least decline was found in grain number, except in Plainsman V. Mv Magma tolerated heat stress better than Fatima 2. In terms of photosynthetic activity, Plainsman V showed better drought tolerance than Mv Magma. The results showed that changes in physiological properties during stress treatment are not always associated with changes in yield parameters, so a combination of methods may be needed to give a more precise picture of the stress tolerance of wheat varieties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-530
Number of pages12
JournalOpen Life Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2014



  • Drought
  • Grain filling
  • Grain yield
  • Heat stress
  • Photosynthesis
  • Winter wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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