Articles | Volume 14, issue 16
Research article
29 Aug 2017
Research article |  | 29 Aug 2017

Morphological plasticity of root growth under mild water stress increases water use efficiency without reducing yield in maize

Qian Cai, Yulong Zhang, Zhanxiang Sun, Jiaming Zheng, Wei Bai, Yue Zhang, Yang Liu, Liangshan Feng, Chen Feng, Zhe Zhang, Ning Yang, Jochem B. Evers, and Lizhen Zhang

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Cited articles

Abendroth, L. J., Elmore, R. W., Boyer, M. J., and Marlay, S. K.: Corn Growth and Development. PMR 1009. Iowa State University Extension, Ames, Iowa, USA, available at: (last access: 8 June 2017), 2011.
Beis, A. and Patakas, A.: Differential physiological and biochemical responses to drought in grapevines subjected to partial root drying and deficit irrigation, Eur. J. Agron., 62, 90–97, 2015.
Cakir, R.: Effect of water stress at different development stages on vegetative and reproductive growth of corn, Field Crop Res., 89, 1–16, 2004.
Claassen, M. M. and Shaw, R. H.: Water deficit effects on corn. II. Grain components, Agron. J., 62, 652–655, 1970.
Davies, W. J. and Zhang, J.: Root signals and the regulation of growth and development of plants in drying soil, Ann. Rev. Plant Phys., 42, 55–76, 1991.
Short summary
Large yield gaps exist in rain-fed maize in semi-arid regions caused by frequent droughts halfway through the growing period due to uneven distribution of rainfall. It can be questioned whether irrigation systems are economically and ecologically required. Maize yield was not affected by mild water stress due to the morphological plasticity in root growth. Our results help to mitigate drought risk in dry-land agriculture.
Final-revised paper