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Title: Selection of Drought Resistant Wheat through Shoot and Root Characteristisation at Seedling Stage
Authors: Morwani, Robert Gesimba
Keywords: Drought Resistant Wheat -- Shoot and Root Characterization -- Seedling Stage
Issue Date: Aug-2000
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is the second most imponant cereal in Kenya after maize. For more than twenty years its demand has exceeded production. Production can be increased through development of drought tolerant varieties for arid and setni-arid areas. The conventional selection method for drought resistant wheat is slow and expensive necessitating the search for a faster and less expensive method. Therefore, this study was initiated with an aim of developing a method of selection For drought resistance at seedling stage. This research was carried out at the National Plant Breeding Research Station Njoro in a greenhouse between October l998 and April 1999. To determine the most effective box size for root screening, variety Duma was grown in boxes of different sizes. The most elfective and efficient planting method for shoot screening was determined by growing three commercial varieties (Duma, Kenya Mbweha and Mbuni) and three advanced breeding lines (R830. R831 and R748) all grown in one box, each genotype per single row in a planting box and each genotype in double rows in a planting box. Data for shoot and root characterisation was taken. For root characterisation. the six genotypes (the three commercial varieties and lines) were assessed 49 days alter germination. Data on root depth, total root length, root spread at six centimetres depth, widest root spread and root concentration were collected. For shoot studies, plants were grown up to seedling establishment then lefi for three weeks without watering. Data on plant height, leaf area index, number of plants wilted, dead and revived was taken. Watering resumed for three more weeks alter which revived plants were counted. The most ideal planting method and box was the double row planting method and the box measuring 0.03mxlmxO.3m. Shoot and root characteristics of all the genotypes showed significant difference (p=0.05) with variety Duma emerging as the most drought resistant. Generally drought resistant wheat genotypes had more roots in the crown region with the nodal and seminal roots concentrated between the soil surface and 70cm deep. The susceptible genotypes had fewer roots in the crown region and the nodal and seminal roots were concentrated between the soil surface and 84cm deep. This study has shown that selection of drought resistant wheat through shoot and root characterisation at seedling stage is possible.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Agriculture

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