The removal of phosphorus (P) from fields in the harvested seeds of staple crops is a major driver of the global P cycle, and consequently, there is interest in breeding grain crops with lower seed P concentrations. While it is expected that a reduction in seed total P would result in lower concentrations of the P-rich anti-nutrient phytate, the potential consequences for starch lysophospholipids (LPLs), which affect rice grain quality and health outcomes in humans, are unknown. We examined the accumulation of phytate and starch LPLs in developing indica (cv. IR64) and japonica (cv. Nipponbare) rice grains as well as the stability of starch LPLs and phytate under varying P supply treatments in hydroponics. Source-sink relationships during grain filling (drought and floret abortion) were also investigated in a pot study. Accumulation of phytate and starch LPLs in seeds continued until 18 days after anthesis (DAA) in cv. Nipponbare and 21 DAA in cv. IR64, which mirrored the accumulation of biomass in seeds. In the hydroponic study, permanent withdrawal of P from the nutrient solution at anthesis (until maturity) led to significant reductions in both phytate and starch LPLs with a similar trend observed when P was withdrawn at 8 DAA. In the pot study using soil, alteration of source-sink systems through drought stress during grain filling or floret abortion (manual removal of the top half of each panicle) also led to significant reductions in grain phytate and starch LPLs compared to control plants. These results indicate that in addition to affecting phytate concentrations, reduced P supply to rice plants during grain filling and alteration of source-sink relationships also impacts starch LPL concentrations. Given these complexities, breeding and selection for reduced seed P concentration in rice and other cereals should be undertaken with caution.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Cereal Science|
|Early online date||10 Dec 2019|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2020|