Developing Climate-Resilient Chickpea Involving Physiological and Molecular Approaches With a Focus on Temperature and Drought Stresses.
ABSTRACT: Chickpea is one of the most economically important food legumes, and a significant source of proteins. It is cultivated in more than 50 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. Chickpea production is limited by various abiotic stresses (cold, heat, drought, salt, etc.). Being a winter-season crop in northern south Asia and some parts of the Australia, chickpea faces low-temperature stress (0-15°C) during the reproductive stage that causes substantial loss of flowers, and thus pods, to inhibit its yield potential by 30-40%. The winter-sown chickpea in the Mediterranean, however, faces cold stress at vegetative stage. In late-sown environments, chickpea faces high-temperature stress during reproductive and pod filling stages, causing considerable yield losses. Both the low and the high temperatures reduce pollen viability, pollen germination on the stigma, and pollen tube growth resulting in poor pod set. Chickpea also experiences drought stress at various growth stages; terminal drought, along with heat stress at flowering and seed filling can reduce yields by 40-45%. In southern Australia and northern regions of south Asia, lack of chilling tolerance in cultivars delays flowering and pod set, and the crop is usually exposed to terminal drought. The incidences of temperature extremes (cold and heat) as well as inconsistent rainfall patterns are expected to increase in near future owing to climate change thereby necessitating the development of stress-tolerant and climate-resilient chickpea cultivars having region specific traits, which perform well under drought, heat, and/or low-temperature stress. Different approaches, such as genetic variability, genomic selection, molecular markers involving quantitative trait loci (QTLs), whole genome sequencing, and transcriptomics analysis have been exploited to improve chickpea production in extreme environments. Biotechnological tools have broadened our understanding of genetic basis as well as plants' responses to abiotic stresses in chickpea, and have opened opportunities to develop stress tolerant chickpea.
Project description:Flower and pod production and seed set of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) are sensitive to drought stress. A 2-fold range in seed yield was found among a large number of chickpea genotypes grown at three dryland field sites in south-western Australia. Leaf water potential, photosynthetic characteristics, and reproductive development of two chickpea genotypes with contrasting yields in the field were compared when subjected to terminal drought in 106kg containers of soil in a glasshouse. The terminal drought imposed from early podding reduced biomass, reproductive growth, harvest index, and seed yield of both genotypes. Terminal drought at least doubled the percentage of flower abortion, pod abscission, and number of empty pods. Pollen viability and germination decreased when the fraction of transpirable soil water (FTSW) decreased below 0.18 (82% of the plant-available soil water had been transpired); however, at least one pollen tube in each flower reached the ovary. The young pods which developed from flowers produced when the FTSW was 0.50 had viable embryos, but contained higher abscisic acid (ABA) concentrations than those of the well-watered plants; all pods ultimately aborted in the drought treatment. Cessation of seed set at the same soil water content at which stomata began to close and ABA increased strongly suggested a role for ABA signalling in the failure to set seed either directly through abscission of developing pods or seeds or indirectly through the reduction of photosynthesis and assimilate supply to the seeds.
Project description:Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), a cool-season legume, is increasingly affected by heat-stress at reproductive stage due to changes in global climatic conditions and cropping systems. Identifying quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for heat tolerance may facilitate breeding for heat tolerant varieties. The present study was aimed at identifying QTLs associated with heat tolerance in chickpea using 292 F8-9 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) developed from the cross ICC 4567 (heat sensitive) × ICC 15614 (heat tolerant). Phenotyping of RILs was undertaken for two heat-stress (late sown) and one non-stress (normal sown) environments. A genetic map spanning 529.11 cM and comprising 271 genotyping by sequencing (GBS) based single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers was constructed. Composite interval mapping (CIM) analysis revealed two consistent genomic regions harbouring four QTLs each on CaLG05 and CaLG06. Four major QTLs for number of filled pods per plot (FPod), total number of seeds per plot (TS), grain yield per plot (GY) and % pod setting (%PodSet), located in the CaLG05 genomic region, were found to have cumulative phenotypic variation of above 50%. Nineteen pairs of epistatic QTLs showed significant epistatic effect, and non-significant QTL × environment interaction effect, except for harvest index (HI) and biomass (BM). A total of 25 putative candidate genes for heat-stress were identified in the two major genomic regions. This is the first report on QTLs for heat-stress response in chickpea. The markers linked to the above mentioned four major QTLs can facilitate marker-assisted breeding for heat tolerance in chickpea.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Cold stress at reproductive phase in susceptible chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) leads to pollen sterility induced flower abortion. The tolerant genotypes, on the other hand, produce viable pollen and set seed under cold stress. Genomic information on pollen development in cold-tolerant chickpea under cold stress is currently unavailable. RESULTS: DDRT-PCR analysis was carried out to identify anther genes involved in cold tolerance in chickpea genotype ICC16349 (cold-tolerant). A total of 9205 EST bands were analyzed. Cold stress altered expression of 127 ESTs (90 up-regulated, 37 down-regulated) in anthers, more than two third (92) of which were novel with unknown protein identity and function. Remaining about one third (35) belonged to several functional categories such as pollen development, signal transduction, ion transport, transcription, carbohydrate metabolism, translation, energy and cell division. The categories with more number of transcripts were carbohydrate/triacylglycerol metabolism, signal transduction, pollen development and transport. All but two transcripts in these categories were up-regulated under cold stress. To identify time of regulation after stress and organ specificity, expression levels of 25 differentially regulated transcripts were also studied in anthers at six time points and in four organs (anthers, gynoecium, leaves and roots) at four time points. CONCLUSIONS: Limited number of genes were involved in regulating cold tolerance in chickpea anthers. Moreover, the cold tolerance was manifested by up-regulation of majority of the differentially expressed transcripts. The anthers appeared to employ dual cold tolerance mechanism based on their protection from cold by enhancing triacylglycerol and carbohydrate metabolism; and maintenance of normal pollen development by regulating pollen development genes. Functional characterization of about two third of the novel genes is needed to have precise understanding of the cold tolerance mechanisms in chickpea anthers.
Project description:Drought, particularly terminal drought, reduces the yield of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Terminal drought tolerance and water use patterns were evaluated under controlled conditions in 10 genotypes of desi chickpea. Withholding water from early podding reduced vegetative growth, reproductive growth, seed yield, and water use efficiency for seed yield in all genotypes. The genotype Neelam, which produced the highest seed yield when water was withheld, used the least water when well-watered; however, its aboveground biomass at maturity did not differ significantly from six of the nine other genotypes. Indeed, the water-stressed Neelam had the lowest daily transpiration rate during the early stages of water stress and the highest during the later stages, thereby maintaining the highest soil water content in the first 16 days after water was withheld, which enabled higher pod production, lower pod abortion, and better seed filling. Genotypes differed in the threshold value of the fraction of transpirable soil water when flowering and seed set ceased in the water-stress treatment. We conclude that a conservative water use strategy benefits seed yield of chickpea exposed to water shortage during early podding.
Project description:Demand for agricultural crop continues to escalate in response to increasing population and damage of prime cropland for cultivation. Research interest is diverted to utilize soils with marginal plant production. Moisture stress has negative impact on crop growth and productivity. The plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and plant growth regulators (PGR) are vital for plant developmental process under moisture stress. The current study was carried out to investigate the effect of PGPR and PGRs (Salicylic acid and Putrescine) on the physiological activities of chickpea grown in sandy soil. The bacterial isolates were characterized based on biochemical characters including Gram-staining, P-solubilisation, antibacterial and antifungal activities and catalases and oxidases activities and were also screened for the production of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and ammonia (NH3). The bacterial strains were identified as Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus thuringiensis and Bacillus megaterium based on the results of 16S-rRNA gene sequencing. Chickpea seeds of two varieties (Punjab Noor-2009 and 93127) differing in sensitivity to drought were soaked for 3 h before sowing in fresh grown cultures of isolates. Both the PGRs were applied (150 mg/L), as foliar spray on 20 days old seedlings of chickpea. Moisture stress significantly reduced the physiological parameters but the inoculation of PGPR and PGR treatment effectively ameliorated the adverse effects of moisture stress. The result showed that chickpea plants treated with PGPR and PGR significantly enhanced the chlorophyll, protein and sugar contents. Shoot and root fresh (81%) and dry weights (77%) were also enhanced significantly in the treated plants. Leaf proline content, lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzymes (CAT, APOX, POD and SOD) were increased in reaction to drought stress but decreased due to PGPR. The plant height (61%), grain weight (41%), number of nodules (78%) and pod (88%), plant yield (76%), pod weight (53%) and total biomass (54%) were higher in PGPR and PGR treated chickpea plants grown in sandy soil. It is concluded from the present study that the integrative use of PGPR and PGRs is a promising method and eco-friendly strategy for increasing drought tolerance in crop plants.
Project description:Drought stress induced pollen sterility is a detrimental factor reducing grain number in wheat. Exploring the mechanisms underlying pollen fertility under drought conditions could assist breeding high-yielding wheat cultivars with stress tolerance. Here, by using two Chinese wheat cultivars subjected to different levels of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced drought stress, possible links between pollen fertility and stress tolerance were analyzed under different levels of drought stress at the young microspore stage. In both cultivars, higher grain number reduction was observed under condition of lower water availability. Overall, the drought tolerant cultivar (Jinmai47) exhibited less grain number reduction than the drought sensitive cultivar (Shiluan02-1) under all stress conditions. Compared with Shiluan02-1, Jinmai47 exhibited superior physiological performance in terms of leaf photosynthetic rate, ear carbohydrate accumulation, pollen sink strength, pollen development and fertility under stress. Moreover, Jinmai47 showed a lower increase in endogenous abscisic acid in ears than Shiluan02-1. Furthermore, higher levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) activities were also found in the drought tolerant cultivar Jinmai47 under PEG stress, compared with the drought sensitive cultivar Shiluan02-1. Changes in these physiological traits could contribute to better pollen development and male fertility, ultimately leading to the maintenance of grain number under drought stress.
Project description:Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the most widely-grown crop in the Mediterranean semi-arid (150-400 mm) cropping zones of both southern Australia and the inland Pacific Northwest (PNW) of the United States of America (United States). Low precipitation, low winter temperatures and heat and drought conditions during late spring and summer limit wheat yields in both regions. Due to rising temperatures, reduced autumn rainfall and increased frost risk in southern Australia since 1990, cropping conditions in these two environments have grown increasingly similar. This presents the opportunity for southern Australian growers to learn from the experiences of their PNW counterparts. Wheat cultivars with an obligate vernalization requirement (winter wheat), are an integral part of semi-arid PNW cropping systems, but in Australia are most frequently grown in cool or cold temperate cropping zones that receive high rainfall (>500 mm p.a.). It has recently been shown that early-sown winter wheat cultivars can increase water-limited potential yield in semi-arid southern Australia, in the face of decreasing autumn rainfall. Despite this research, there has to date been little breeding effort invested in winter wheat for growers in semi-arid southern Australia, and agronomic research into the management of early-sown winter wheat has only occurred in recent years. This paper explores the current and emerging environmental constraints of cropping in semi-arid southern Australia and, using the genotype × management strategies developed over 120 years of winter wheat agronomy in the PNW, highlights the potential advantages early-sown winter wheat offers growers in low-rainfall environments. The increased biomass, stable flowering time and late-summer establishment opportunities offered by winter wheat genotypes ensure they achieve higher yields in the PNW compared to later-sown spring wheat. Traits that make winter wheat advantageous in the PNW may also contribute to increased yield when grown in semi-arid southern Australia. This paper investigates which specific traits present in winter wheat genotypes give them an advantage in semi-arid cropping environments, which management practices best exploit this advantage, and what potential improvements can be made to cultivars for semi-arid southern Australia based on the history of winter wheat crop growth in the semi-arid Pacific Northwest.
Project description:The plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and plant growth regulators (PGRs) can be applied to improve the growth and productivity of plants, with potential to be used for genetic improvement of drought tolerance. However, for genetic improvement to be achieved, a solid understanding of the physiological and biochemical changes in plants induced by PGPR and PGR is required. The present study was carried out to investigate the role of PGPR and PGRs on the physiology and biochemical changes in chickpea grown under drought stress conditions and their association with drought tolerance. The PGPR, isolated from the rhizosphere of chickpea, were characterized on the basis of colony morphology and biochemical characters. They were also screened for the production of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), ammonia (NH3), and exopolysaccharides (EPS) production. The isolated PGPR strains, named P1, P2, and P3, were identified by 16S-rRNA gene sequencing as Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus thuringiensis, and Bacillus megaterium, respectively. The seeds of two chickpea varieties, Punjab Noor-2009 (drought sensitive) and 93127 (drought tolerant) were soaked for 2-3 h prior to sowing in 24 h old cultures of isolates. The salicylic acid (SA) and putrescine (Put) were sprayed (150 mg/L) on 25 day old chickpea seedlings. The results showed that chickpea plants treated with a consortium of PGPR and PGRs significantly enhanced the chlorophyll, protein, and sugar contents compared to irrigated and drought conditions. Leaf proline content, lipid peroxidation, and activities of antioxidant enzymes (CAT, APOX, POD, and SOD) all increased in response to drought stress but decreased due to the PGPR and PGRs treatment. An ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (UPLC-HRMS) analysis was carried out for metabolic profiling of chickpea leaves planted under controlled (well-irrigated), drought, and consortium (drought plus PGPR and PGRs) conditions. Proline, L-arginine, L-histidine, L-isoleucine, and tryptophan were accumulated in the leaves of chickpea exposed to drought stress. Consortium of PGPR and PGRs induced significant accumulation of riboflavin, L-asparagine, aspartate, glycerol, nicotinamide, and 3-hydroxy-3-methyglutarate in the leaves of chickpea. The drought sensitive chickpea variety showed significant accumulation of nicotinamide and 4-hydroxy-methylglycine in PGPR and PGR treated plants at both time points (44 and 60 days) as compared to non-inoculated drought plants. Additionally, arginine accumulation was also enhanced in the leaves of the sensitive variety under drought conditions. Metabolic changes as a result of drought and consortium conditions highlighted pools of metabolites that affect the metabolic and physiological adjustments in chickpea that reduce drought impacts.
Project description:We identified 44844 high-quality SNPs by sequencing 92 diverse chickpea accessions belonging to a seed and pod trait-specific association panel using reference genome- and de novo-based GBS (genotyping-by-sequencing) assays. A GWAS (genome-wide association study) in an association panel of 211, including the 92 sequenced accessions, identified 22 major genomic loci showing significant association (explaining 23-47% phenotypic variation) with pod and seed number/plant and 100-seed weight. Eighteen trait-regulatory major genomic loci underlying 13 robust QTLs were validated and mapped on an intra-specific genetic linkage map by QTL mapping. A combinatorial approach of GWAS, QTL mapping and gene haplotype-specific LD mapping and transcript profiling uncovered one superior haplotype and favourable natural allelic variants in the upstream regulatory region of a CesA-type cellulose synthase (Ca_Kabuli_CesA3) gene regulating high pod and seed number/plant (explaining 47% phenotypic variation) in chickpea. The up-regulation of this superior gene haplotype correlated with increased transcript expression of Ca_Kabuli_CesA3 gene in the pollen and pod of high pod/seed number accession, resulting in higher cellulose accumulation for normal pollen and pollen tube growth. A rapid combinatorial genome-wide SNP genotyping-based approach has potential to dissect complex quantitative agronomic traits and delineate trait-regulatory genomic loci (candidate genes) for genetic enhancement in crop plants, including chickpea.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Cultivated chickpea (Cicer arietinum) has a narrow genetic base making it difficult for breeders to produce new elite cultivars with durable resistance to major biotic and abiotic stresses. As an alternative to genome mapping, microarrays have recently been applied in crop species to identify and assess the function of putative genes thought to be involved in plant abiotic stress and defence responses. In the present study, a cDNA microarray approach was taken in order to determine if the transcription of genes, from a set of previously identified putative stress-responsive genes from chickpea and its close relative Lathyrus sativus, were altered in chickpea by the three abiotic stresses; drought, cold and high-salinity. For this, chickpea genotypes known to be tolerant and susceptible to each abiotic stress were challenged and gene expression in the leaf, root and/or flower tissues was studied. The transcripts that were differentially expressed among stressed and unstressed plants in response to the particular stress were analysed in the context of tolerant/susceptible genotypes. RESULTS: The transcriptional change of more than two fold was observed for 109, 210 and 386 genes after drought, cold and high-salinity treatments, respectively. Among these, two, 15 and 30 genes were consensually differentially expressed (DE) between tolerant and susceptible genotypes studied for drought, cold and high-salinity, respectively. The genes that were DE in tolerant and susceptible genotypes under abiotic stresses code for various functional and regulatory proteins. Significant differences in stress responses were observed within and between tolerant and susceptible genotypes highlighting the multiple gene control and complexity of abiotic stress response mechanism in chickpea. CONCLUSION: The annotation of these genes suggests that they may have a role in abiotic stress response and are potential candidates for tolerance/susceptibility.