Recent advances in soybean breeding have resulted in genotypes that express the slow-wilting phenotype (trait) under drought stress conditions. The physiological mechanisms of this trait remain unknown due to the complexity of trait x environment interactions. The objective of this research was to investigate nitrogen metabolism and leaf and seed nutrients composition of the slow-wilting soybean genotypes under drought stress conditions. A repeated greenhouse experiment was conducted using check genotypes: NC-Roy (fast wilting), Boggs (intermediate in wilting); and NTCPR94-5157 and N04-9646 (slow-wilting, SLW) genotypes. Plants were either well-watered or drought stressed. Results showed that under well-watered conditions, nitrogen fixation (NF), nitrogen assimilation (NA), and leaf and seed composition differed between genotypes. Under drought stress, NF and NA were higher in NTCPR94-5157 and N04-9646 than in NC-Roy and Boggs. Under severe water stress, however, NA was low in all genotypes. Leaf water potential was significantly lower in checks (-2.00. MPa) than in the SLW genotypes (-1.68. MPa). Leaf and seed concentrations of K, P, Ca, Cu, Na, B were higher in SLW genotypes than in the checks under drought stress conditions. Seed protein, oleic acid, and sugars were higher in SLW genotypes, and oil, linoleic and linolenic acids were lower in SLW genotypes. This research demonstrated that K, P Ca, Cu, Na, and B may be involved in SLW trait by maintaining homeostasis and osmotic regulation. Maintaining higher leaf water potential in NTCPR94-5157 and N04-9646 under drought stress could be a possible water conservation mechanism to maintain leaf turgor pressure. The increase in osmoregulators such as minerals, raffinose, and stachyose, and oleic acid could be beneficial for soybean breeders in selecting for drought stress tolerance. © 2013 Bellaloui, Gillen, Mengistu, Kebede, Fisher, Smith and Reddy.
Bellaloui, N. (2013). Responses of nitrogen metabolism and seed nutrition to drought stress in soybean genotypes differing in slow-wilting phenotype. Frontiers in Plant Science, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2013.00498