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Doctoral thesis2021Open access

Associations among early-season root and shoot traits, nutrient use efficiency and grain yield of spring wheat

Liu, Hui


Nutrient-efficient and high-yielding spring wheat is needed in high-latitude regions. The aims of this thesis were: (1) to evaluate the effects of soil compaction and differential weather conditions on plant growth and grain yield, (2) to identify critical nutrient elements limiting plant growth and grain yield, and (3) to identify root and shoot traits at an early growth stage (early vigor) influencing nutrient use efficiency and grain yield of spring wheat. This thesis is based on a two-year field trial and a three-week greenhouse experiment. Nine spring wheat genotypes were field-grown on compacted and non-compacted soils during two cropping seasons with contrasting weather conditions. In addition, the same genotypes were greenhousegrown for three weeks in rhizoboxes to further explore the genotype-specific associations between early vigor and nutrient accumulation. Soil compaction increased plant biomass in the drier year but decreased it in the wetter year, compared to the non-compacted treatment. In addition to nitrogen, magnesium-tophosphorus ratio co-limited total plant biomass and grain yield. Depending on the nutrient of interest, different root system traits were identified as relevant for their accumulations. Furthermore, a potential trade-off was found between nitrogen uptake efficiency and grain-specific nitrogen efficiency (i.e., grain yield per nitrogen accumulation), and it might be partly triggered by some trade-offs seen between root system traits already at an early growth stage. I emphasize that weather conditions significantly influence the interactions between compacted soil and plant growth. I suggest that the potential of early vigor to improve nutrient use efficiency and grain yield should be further investigated, together with the spatial and temporal dynamics of soil resources.


early vigor; nutrient use efficiency; roots; soil compaction; spring wheat

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2021, number: 2021:66ISBN: 978-91-7760-809-7, eISBN: 978-91-7760-810-3
Publisher: Department of Crop Production Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Food Science

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