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Differential responses of wheat genotypes for potassium uptake and utilization efficiency under adequate and deficient potassium levels in solution culture

Muhammad Ali Khan, M.Y. Khuawer, M.U. Shirazi, S.M. Mujtaba, Maqsood A. Khaskheli and M.A. Khan

Identification of nutrient efficient genotypes as low cost, low input technology is considered one of most efficient approaches for improving crop production in poor resource environments. Potassium (K) deficiency in the soils of Pakistan is spreading rapidly and has become one of the most nutritional limiting factors for crop yield. In the present investigation, six wheat genotypes were evaluated for growth, K uptake and utilization efficiency in the Johnson’s solution modified to 0.3mM (deficient-K) and 3.0 mM (adequate-K) using K2SO4. The experiment was conducted in a factorial, completely randomized design (CRD), replicated thrice. Substantial variation was observed among the genotypes in the biomass accumulation, allocation of K-uptake and -use efficiency in root and shoot at two contrasting K level. Generally, K-deficiency decreased biomass production, K-uptake and K-use efficiency, however higher genetic potential genotypes maintained their growth and K accumulation even at low K-level. Potassium use efficiency was increased almost four folds in the genotype grown at low K and was positively correlated with K accumulation. The genotype SD-222 is responsive to adequate K-supply, while the genotype 22-03 is efficient to low K-supply. It is suggested that these two genotypes could be used in breeding programmes to improve K-efficiency.

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