[Background] Large quantities of nitrogen (N) fertilizer applied to cotton cropping systems support high yields but cause adverse environmental impacts such as N2O emission and water eutrophication. The development of cotton cultivars with higher N use efficiencies suitable for low-N conditions is therefore important for sustainable production. In this study, we evaluated 100 cotton genotypes in 2016 for N use efficiency and related traits at the seedling stage.
[Methods] Sand culture experiment was conducted with low N levels (0.01 g·kg−1) or normal N levels (0.1 g·kg−1). We investigated plant height, SPAD value (soil plant analysis development chlorophyll meter), dry weight, N accumulation, N utilization efficiency, and N uptake efficiency. Through descriptive statistics, principal component analysis and heatmap clustering analysis, we confirmed the evaluation index system of N-efficient genotypes and the classification of N-efficient genotypes.
[Results] Significant differences were observed among N levels and genotypes for all agronomic traits and N levels. Coefficients of variation varied greatly and ranged from 6.7~28.8 and 7.4~20.8 under low-N and normal-N treatment, respectively. All traits showed highly significant positive correlations with each other, except SPAD value. The principal components under both N levels were similar, showing that total dry weight, aboveground dry weight, total N accumulation, and N uptake efficiency were important components. We confirmed these four traits as suitable screening indexes for low N tolerance. Based on the results of heatmap clustering and scatter diagram analysis of N efficiency value, 10 genotypes were found low-N tolerant, in which five varieties were inefficient under both low and normal N conditions, while four varieties were found efficient under low-N conditions but inefficient under normal-N conditions. Only one variety was efficient under both low and normal-N conditions. Meanwhile, 20 genotypes were identified as low-N sensitive ones, in which 19 genotypes were inefficient under low-N conditions but efficient under normal-N conditions, one variety was inefficient under both low and normal-N conditions.
[Conclusion] We preliminarily identified Kashi as a low-N tolerant and N-efficient cotton genotype, and CCRI 64 as a low-N sensitive and N-inefficient cotton genotype. Further studies should be carried out to verify the yield and heritability effect of specific genotypes in the field.
Identification and screening of nitrogen-efficient cotton genotypes under low and normal nitrogen environments at the seedling stage
ZHANG Hengheng†, FU Xiaoqiong†, WANG Xiangru, GUI Huiping, DONG Qiang, PANG Nianchang, WANG Zhun, ZHANG Xiling and SONG Meizhen
Journal of Cotton Research. 2018; 1:6.