Association of carbon isotope discrimination with leaf gas exchange and water use efficiency in maize following soil amendment with superabsorbent hydrogel W., Li P. (2018): Association of carbon isotope discrimination with leaf gas exchange and water use efficiency in maize following soil amendment with superabsorbent hydrogel. Plant Soil Environ., 64: 484-490.
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The correlation of carbon isotope discrimination (13C) with photosynthetic gas exchange and water use efficiency (WUE) in maize was investigated under low rainfall conditions with or without superabsorbent polymer (SAP). SAP (45 kg/ha) was mixed into the top 10 cm soil layer at sowing in lysimeters. Compared with the control plants not treated with SAP, the application of SAP increased net photosynthesis rate; stomatal conductance (gs); transpiration rate; chlorophyll content (Chl) and intrinsic water use efficiency at leaf level (WUEi), but decreased intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) and leaf 13C. In plants supplied with SAP, leaf 13C was positively correlated with Ci (r = 0.864, P < 0.01) and negatively correlated with gs and WUEi (r = –0.860 and –0.626, P < 0.01, respectively). Leaf 13C was not correlated with Chl with or without SAP. Grain 13C significantly decreased by 12.4% and showed a significant negative correlation with grain WUE under SAP treatments (r = –0.670, P < 0.05). These results suggest that in the presence of SAP, maize leaf and grain 13C could be good indicators for evaluating maize WUE during periods of low rainfall.

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