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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2019, Vol. 18 Issue (9): 2141-2152    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(19)62597-9
Agro-ecosystem & Environment Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Characterization of low-N responses in maize (Zea mays L.) cultivars with contrasting nitrogen use efficiency in the North China Plain
LI Xiang-ling1, GUO Li-guo1, ZHOU Bao-yuan2, TANG Xiang-ming1, CHEN Cong-cong1, ZHANG Lei1, ZHANG Shao-yun1, LI Chong-feng2, XIAO Kai1, DONG Wei-xin4, YIN Bao-zhong3, ZHANG Yue-chen1
1 College of Agronomy, Hebei Agricultural University/Key Laboratory of Crop Growth Regulation of Hebei Province, Baoding 071001, P.R.China
2 Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences/Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology and Production, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Beijing 100081, P.R.China
3 College of Plant Protection, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding 071001, P.R.China
4 Teaching Support and Service Center, Hebei Radio and TV University, Shijiazhuang 050080, P.R.China
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Over-use of N fertilizer in crop production has resulted in a series of environmental problems in the North China Plain (NCP).  Thus, improvement of nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in summer maize has become an effective strategy for promoting sustainable agriculture in this region.  Using twenty maize cultivars, plant dry matter production, N absorption and accumulation, yield formation, and NUE in summer maize were investigated under three N levels in two growing seasons.  Based on their yield and yield components, these maize cultivars were categorized into four groups including efficient-efficient (EE) cultivars, high-nitrogen efficient (HNE) cultivars, low-nitrogen efficient (LNE) cultivars and nonefficient-nonefficient (NN) cultivars.  In both two seasons, the EE cultivars improved grain yield together with increased plant biomass, and enhanced accumulative amounts as well as higher average grain yields than the other cultivar groups under deficient-N conditions.  Significant correlations were observed between yield and kernel numbers (KN), dry matter (DM) amount and N accumulation at both post-silking and maturity stages.  DM and N accumulation at late growth stage (i.e., from silking to maturity) contributed largely to the enhanced yield capacity and improved NUE under N-deficient conditions.  Compared with the NN cultivars, the EE cultivars also showed increased N assimilation amount (NAA) and N remobilization content (NRC), and elevated N remobilization efficiency (NRE), NUE and nitrogen partial factor productivity (PFPN).  Our investigation has revealed N-associated physiological processes and may provide guidance for cultivation and breeding of high yield and NUE summer maize under limited N conditions in the NCP.
Keywords:  summer maize        N deficiency        yield        dry matter production        N accumulative amount  
Received: 03 August 2018   Accepted:
Fund: This study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFD0300503).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence YIN Bao-zhong, E-mail:; ZHANG Yue-chen, E-mail: Zhangyc1964   
About author:  LI Xiang-ling, Mobile: +86-15210679441, E-mail: ncqyfz2008;

Cite this article: 

LI Xiang-ling, GUO Li-guo, ZHOU Bao-yuan, TANG Xiang-ming, CHEN Cong-cong, ZHANG Lei, ZHANG Shao-yun, LI Chong-feng, XIAO Kai, DONG Wei-xin, YIN Bao-zhong, ZHANG Yue-chen . 2019. Characterization of low-N responses in maize (Zea mays L.) cultivars with contrasting nitrogen use efficiency in the North China Plain. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 18(9): 2141-2152.

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