Impacts of genotypic variations in sulfur distribution and branching characteristics on nitrogen efficiency of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.)
Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is an important agricultural crop that represents a major renewable resource for human food, animal feed and numerous non-food uses (e.g. bio-fuel, lubricants, high added-value products derived from green chemistry). Also cultivation of this crop is valuable for diversifying the cereal-dominated crop-rotations and for suppressing soil-borne pathogens. Therefore, many EU countries have a great interest in oilseed rape production. However, oilseed rape is characterized with higher nitrogen (N) balance surpluses than other crops, which increases the risk of environmental quality as well as the detriment of the economic return. A main approach is to reduce N fertilizer input and meanwhile to avoid severe yield penalties, which might be achieved by development and selection of oilseed rape cultivars that can efficiently use the available N. Studies on N efficiency have mainly highlighted the importance of the reproductive growth for a high yield under conditions of low N supply, and a minor importance of the vegetative growth, the processes decisive for reproductive growth should receive more attention in order to identify the decisive plant traits for N efficiency. Previous studies have revealed that reproductive development of oilseed rape can be influenced by various genetic and environmental factors. This thesis covers two possible aspects, i.e. genotypic variations in sulfur distribution and in branching traits. The main focuses are aiming at the influences of these genotypic variations on seed yield and N efficiency.
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