Letter | Published:

Male sterility in wheat plants deficient in copper


IN higher plants, copper deficiency affects the reproductive phase more than the vegetative. Yields of grain may be markedly reduced or nil without much effect on yield of vegetative parts1–3. Failure to produce seed may be caused by lack of sufficient photosynthate production or translocation, or to the absence of fertilised embryos. Although soluble carbohydrates were low in copper-deficient wheat leaves, the evidence reported here points to the non-viability of pollen as the primary cause of failure to set grain. Possible mechanisms for the induction of male sterility by copper deficiency are proposed, and its potential for use in plant breeding is discussed.

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    Lipman, C. B., and Mackinney, G., Pl. Physiol. Lancaster, 6, 593–599 (1931).

  2. 2

    Riceman, D. S., and Donald, C. M., Pamphlet 78, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Melbourne, Australia (1938).

  3. 3

    Chaudhry, F. M., and Loneragan, J. F., Aust. J. agric. Res., 21, 865–879 (1970).

  4. 4

    Hauser, E. J. P., and Morrison, J. H., Am. J. Bot., 51, 748–752 (1964).

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    Bennett, M. D., Chapman, V., and Riley, R., Proc. R. Soc., B 178, 259–275 (1971).

  6. 6

    Lohnis, M. P., Meded. LandbHoogesch., Wageningen., 41, (1937) 44 (1940).

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