Maize open-pollinated populations physiological improvement: Validating xtools for drought response participatory selection

Susana T. Leitão, Emanuel Ferreira, M. Catarina Bicho, Mara L. Alves, Duarte Pintado, Daniela Santos, Pedro Mendes-Moreira, Susana S. Araújo, J. Miguel Costa, Maria Carlota Vaz Patto

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Participatory selection-exploiting specific adaptation traits to target environments-helps to guarantees yield stability in a changing climate, in particular under low-input or organic production. The purpose of the present study was to identify reliable, low-cost, fast and easy-to-use tools to complement traditional selection for an effective participatory improvement of maize populations for drought resistance/tolerance. The morphological and eco-physiological responses to progressive water deprivation of four maize open-pollinated populations were assessed in both controlled and field conditions. Thermography and Chl a fluorescence, validated by gas exchange indicated that the best performing populations under water-deficit conditions were 'Fandango' and to a less extent 'Pigarro' (both from participatory breeding). These populations showed high yield potential under optimal and reduced watering. Under moderate water stress, 'Bilhó', originating from an altitude of 800 m, is one of the most resilient populations. The experiments under chamber conditions confirmed the existence of genetic variability within 'Pigarro' and 'Fandango' for drought response relevant for future populations breeding. Based on the easiness to score and population discriminatory power, the performance index (PIABS) emerges as an integrative phenotyping tool to use as a refinement of the common participatory maize selection especially under moderate water deprivation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6081
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Chl a fluorescence
  • Field phenotyping
  • Leaf gas exchange
  • Open-pollinated populations
  • Participatory plant breeding
  • Performance index
  • Water deficit
  • Zea mays L


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