Agriculture and Food Systems - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1009
The relationship between transpiration and nutrient uptake in wheat changes under elevated atmospheric CO2
The impact of elevated [CO2 ] (e[CO2 ]) on crops often includes a decrease in their nutrient concentrations where reduced transpiration-driven mass flow of nutrients has been suggested to play a role. We used two independent approaches, a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment in the South Eastern wheat belt of Australia and a simulation study employing the agricultural production systems simulator (APSIM), to show that transpiration (mm) and nutrient uptake (g m-2 ) of nitrogen (N), potassium (K), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and manganese (Mn) in wheat are correlated under e[CO2 ], but that nutrient uptake per unit water transpired is higher under e[CO2 ] than under ambient [CO2 ] (a[CO2 ]). This result suggests that transpiration-driven mass flow of nutrients contributes to decreases in nutrient concentrations under e[CO2 ], but cannot solely explain the overall decline.
Assessment of nutritional characteristics of virus-resistant transgenic white clover (Trifolium repens L.) grown under field and glasshouse conditions
White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is an important pasture legume in temperate areas throughout the world, providing fodder for grazing animals and improving soil fertility via symbiotic nitrogen fixation. However, the persistence and stress tolerance of white clover are affected by a number of viruses including alfalfa mosaic virus. Transgenic white clover plants with ectopic expression of the alfalfa mosaic virus coat protein were resistant to the virus under field and greenhouse conditions. With all genetic modifications of major consequence, there is the possibility of unintended effects on forage quality and natural toxicant levels. In this paper, we describe the evaluation of a range of parameters related to the nutritive value of white clover herbage to grazing animals and a suite of naturally occurring secondary metabolites that have the potential to be natural toxicants in transgenic white clover plants and wild-type control plants with a similar genetic background. Samples were collected from plants grown under both field and glasshouse conditions. Several commercial cultivars were included for comparison. Although there was plant-to-plant variation, as expected from an obligate outcrossing species, there were no significant differences in the range of this variation between transgenic and wild-type plants. Furthermore, no consistent significant differences were found between groups of transgenic and wild-type plants from the same generation, when mean nutritional parameters (crude protein, in vitro dry matter digestibility, neutral detergent fibre and water-soluble carbohydrates) and natural toxicants (cyanogenic glucosides, phytoestrogens and saponins) were compared.
Challenges in predicting climate change impacts on pome fruit phenology
Climate projection data were applied to two commonly used pome fruit flowering models to investigate potential differences in predicted full bloom timing. The two methods, fixed thermal time and sequential chill-growth, produced different results for seven apple and pear varieties at two Australian locations. The fixed thermal time model predicted incremental advancement of full bloom, while results were mixed from the sequential chill-growth model. To further investigate how the sequential chill-growth model reacts under climate perturbed conditions, four simulations were created to represent a wider range of species physiological requirements. These were applied to five Australian locations covering varied climates. Lengthening of the chill period and contraction of the growth period was common to most results. The relative dominance of the chill or growth component tended to predict whether full bloom advanced, remained similar or was delayed with climate warming. The simplistic structure of the fixed thermal time model and the exclusion of winter chill conditions in this method indicate it is unlikely to be suitable for projection analyses. The sequential chill-growth model includes greater complexity; however, reservations in using this model for impact analyses remain. The results demonstrate that appropriate representation of physiological processes is essential to adequately predict changes to full bloom under climate perturbed conditions with greater model development needed.