Motzo, Rosella and Giunta, Francesco (2002) Awnedness affects grain yield and kernel weight in near-isogenic lines of durum wheat. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 53 (12), p. 1285-1293. ISSN 0004-9409. Article.
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The importance of awns in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum) has to be evaluated whenever an increase in grain yield is expected due to a greater photosynthetic capacity of the awned ear. Awned and awnless isolines of durum wheat were compared in a 3-year field trial in Sardinia (Italy). Ear and flag-leaf size, radiation interception, canopy temperature, yield, and yield components were measured. Awns increased the ear surface area from 36 to 59%, depending on their length, which ranged from 5.5 to 13.8 cm. This resulted in an average 4% more radiation intercepted by the awned ears. Canopy temperature was 0.9°C lower, on average, in the awned isolines, and was negatively correlated with kernel weight (r = –0.85**, n = 10), although consistent and marked effects of awns on canopy temperature were only observed in the long-awned lines. Awns positively affected grain yield, with an average increase of 10 and 16%, respectively, in the 2 years in which they affected kernel weight. The irrelevant effect of awns on yield in the year characterised by a severe drought was a consequence of their early desiccation. The effects of awns on grain yield and kernel weight strongly depend on the genetic background, on awn length and functionality, and on the environmental conditions during grain filling.
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