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The effects of ploidy and a phenotype conferring a high water-soluble carbohydrate concentration on carbohydrate accumulation, nutritive value and morphology of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)

  • K. F. SMITH (a1), R. J. SIMPSON (a2), R. A. CULVENOR (a2), M. O. HUMPHREYS (a3), M. P. PRUD'HOMME (a4) and R. N. ORAM (a2)...

Abstract

Tetraploidy or the use of diploid genotypes with genes conferring high water-soluble carbohydrate concentrations are two mechanisms to increase the nutritive value of perennial ryegrass. This experiment compared the morphology, nutritive value and diurnal variation in water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentrations of 56-day-old plants from six perennial ryegrass cultivars grown under controlled environment conditions. Three of these cultivars were diploid (Melle, Aurora and Cariad) and three were tetraploids (Meltra, Prospero and AberOnyx) which had been derived from the respective diploid cultivars. Two of the diploid cultivars (Cariad and Aurora) had previously been selected for high concentrations of water-soluble carbohydrates. The tetraploid cultivars had fewer (mean 59), larger tillers than the diploids (mean 83). However, with the exception of Melle and Meltra the dry matter yield of the diploid cultivars was not significantly different from their tetraploid derivatives. The effect of tetraploidy on WSC concentrations was dependent on the genetic background of the cultivars. Melle, which had not been previously selected for increased WSC, had a significantly lower WSC concentration than its tetraploid derivative, Meltra. However, tetraploidy did not further increase the WSC concentration in those cultivars previously selected for high WSC concentrations. WSC concentrations in the leaf of both Aurora and Melle rose by 65–70 g/kg throughout the photoperiod, suggesting that differences in the total WSC concentration of these cultivars were not due to any increase in the amount of carbon fixed by Aurora but rather due to differences in the allocation of carbon during growth and development. This experiment demonstrated that tetraploidy was not beneficial in improving the WSC concentration of perennial ryegrass when imposed on two diploid cultivars which had the genetic potential for increased WSC accumulation. However, tetraploidy significantly increased the WSC concentration and by implication the nutritive value of a cultivar derived from a perennial ryegrass cultivar with standard WSC concentrations.

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Corresponding author

To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: kevin.f.smith@nre.vic.gov.au

The effects of ploidy and a phenotype conferring a high water-soluble carbohydrate concentration on carbohydrate accumulation, nutritive value and morphology of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)

  • K. F. SMITH (a1), R. J. SIMPSON (a2), R. A. CULVENOR (a2), M. O. HUMPHREYS (a3), M. P. PRUD'HOMME (a4) and R. N. ORAM (a2)...

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