Hybrid vigor (heterosis) has been used as a breeding technique for crop improvement to achieve enhanced biomass production, but the physiological mechanisms underlying heterosis remain poorly understood. In this study, to find a clue to the enhancement of biomass production by heterosis, we systemically evaluated the effect of heterosis on the growth rate and photosynthetic efficiency in sorghum hybrid [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench cv. Tentaka] and its parental lines (restorer line and maintainer line). The final biomass of Tentaka was 10-14 times greater than that of the parental lines grown in an experimental field, but the relative growth rate during the vegetative growth stage did not differ. Tentaka exhibited a relatively enlarged leaf area with lower leaf nitrogen content per leaf area (Narea). When the plants were grown hydroponically at different N levels, daily CO2 assimilation per leaf area (A) increased with Narea, and the ratio of A to Narea (N-use efficiency) was higher in the plants grown at low N levels but not different between Tentaka and the parental lines. The relationships between the CO2 assimilation rate, the amounts of photosynthetic enzymes, including ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and pyruvate phosphate dikinase, Chl and Narea did not differ between Tentaka and the parental lines. Thus, Tentaka tended to exhibit enlargement of leaf area with lower N content, leading to a higher N-use efficiency for CO2 assimilation, but the photosynthetic properties did not differ. The greater biomass in Tentaka was mainly due to the prolonged vegetative growth period.
- C plant
- Carbon isotope discrimination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology