Transient daily heat stress during the early reproductive phase disrupts pod and seed development in Brassica napus L.
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© 2020 The Authors. Food and Energy Security published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. and the Association of Applied Biologists. Transient daily heat stress during flowering of canola (Brassica napus L.) as a result of global warming is an increasing threat to grain production in this important oilseed crop. We investigated the intensity and duration of transient daily heat stress treatment at different stages of reproductive development in three B. napus genotypes under controlled environment conditions. Heat stress treatments during the week before first open flower on the main stem (S0) or during the first week (S1) or second week (S2) following first open flower greatly reduced pod number and seed yield on the main stem. Heat stress treatment during the third week (S3), fourth week (S4), or fifth week (S5) reduced seed yield more on the branches and less on the main stem as time progressed. Pod number and seed yield were reduced by moderate heat stress (TC2; 32°C/22°C) and high heat stress (TC3; 35°C/25°C), compared with the control (TC1, 25°C/15°C). Each duration of heat stress treatment (3, 5 or 7 days) caused the same reduction in pod number and seed per pod on the main stem. Leaf stomatal conductance, leaf chlorophyll index, plant height, and dry weight of above‐ground biomass increased from TC1 to TC3, which indicates that heat stress in the absence of drought stress does not inhibit vegetative growth. Cool night temperatures (15°C) resulted in recovery of pod number and seed yield after moderate (32°C) but not high (35°C) daily transient heat stress. The range of genotype responses to heat stress was greater under TC2 than under TC3. This research brings forward the critical period for heat stress sensitivity in B. napus to one week before first open flower and defines the conditions for controlled environment screening for heat tolerance in B. napus.
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