Engaging Precision Phenotyping to Scrutinize Vegetative Drought Tolerance and Recovery in Chickpea Plant Genetic Resources

Plants (Basel). 2023 Aug 4;12(15):2866. doi: 10.3390/plants12152866.


Precise and high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) of vegetative drought tolerance in chickpea plant genetic resources (PGR) would enable improved screening for genotypes with low relative loss of biomass formation and reliable physiological performance. It could also provide a basis to further decipher the quantitative trait drought tolerance and recovery and gain a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms. In the context of climate change and novel nutritional trends, legumes and chickpea in particular are becoming increasingly important because of their high protein content and adaptation to low-input conditions. The PGR of legumes represent a valuable source of genetic diversity that can be used for breeding. However, the limited use of germplasm is partly due to a lack of available characterization data. The development of HTP systems offers a perspective for the analysis of dynamic plant traits such as abiotic stress tolerance and can support the identification of suitable genetic resources with a potential breeding value. Sixty chickpea accessions were evaluated on an HTP system under contrasting water regimes to precisely evaluate growth, physiological traits, and recovery under optimal conditions in comparison to drought stress at the vegetative stage. In addition to traits such as Estimated Biovolume (EB), Plant Height (PH), and several color-related traits over more than forty days, photosynthesis was examined by chlorophyll fluorescence measurements on relevant days prior to, during, and after drought stress. With high data quality, a wide phenotypic diversity for adaptation, tolerance, and recovery to drought was recorded in the chickpea PGR panel. In addition to a loss of EB between 72% and 82% after 21 days of drought, photosynthetic capacity decreased by 16-28%. Color-related traits can be used as indicators of different drought stress stages, as they show the progression of stress.

PMID:37571019 | PMC:PMC10421427 | DOI:10.3390/plants12152866


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