High Nitrogen Levels Alleviate Yield Loss of Super Hybrid Rice Caused by High Temperatures During the Flowering Stage
- Frontiers in Plant Science
- The effect of high temperatures on rice production has attracted considerable research attention. It is not clear, however, whether nitrogen (N) management can be used to alleviate the damaging effects of high temperatures on flowering in rice. In this study, we compared the yields of five elite super hybrid rice varieties and examined their heat tolerance under four N treatments in two seasons with contrasting temperatures at flowering: 2015 (normal temperature) and 2016 (high temperature). The average daily temperature during the flowering stage in 2016 was 31.1°C, which was 4.5°C higher than that in 2015. There was a significant positive correlation between grain yield and N level (R2 = 0.42, P < 0.01). However, mean grain yield of the five rice varieties in 2015 was 10.5% higher than that in 2016. High N levels reduced yield losses in plants exposed to high temperature in 2016. The mean seed-set percentage in 2016 was 13.0% lower than that in 2015 at higher N levels, but spikelets per panicle increased by 7.6% at higher N levels compared with lower N levels. Higher N levels reduced the number of degenerated spikelets under high temperatures. Spikelets per panicle and N treatment level were positively correlated at high temperatures (R2 = 0.32, P < 0.05). These results confirmed that increasing N application could alleviate yield losses caused by high temperatures in super hybrid rice during the flowering stage.