Screening for Genotype and Environment Effects on Nitrate 1 Accumulation in 24 Species of Young Lettuce

This paper discusses the effects of genotype, environment, and interaction on nitrate accumulation in cultivated and wild lettuce.

Year of Publication2011

Nitrate accumulates in plants in response to N supply, aerial environment (predominantly light), and genotype. This paper characterises the effects of genotype, environment, and their interactions on nitrate accumulation by 24 cultivated and wild lettuce accessions grown hydroponically in winter and summer. The results will inform future strategies for selecting for low-nitrate varieties. A preliminary study in which two accessions were sampled for nitrate over time showed largest differences between cultivars in the early-middle period of growth. Sampling the whole population of lettuce at this stage revealed significant effects of genotype, environment (with nitrate concentrations generally higher in winter), and genotype × environment interactions (largely due to a wider range of concentrations in summer). Changes in the ranking of accessions for nitrate accumulation between the two growing seasons were generally small for cultivated morphotypes. Shoot nitrate concentrations and water contents were positively associated, particularly in summer when separate relationships for different cultivated morphotypes (butterhead, cos/Romaine, crisp, leaf, and stem lettuce) were detected. Expressing nitrate concentration on either a shoot fresh or dry matter basis had relatively little effect on the ranking of most cultivated accessions, but not for the wild types.There is a well-defined sampling window when differences in nitrate accumulation between lettuce genotypes are at a maximum. Delaying sampling may allow morphological changes in head form to mask earlier genotypic differences. Genotype × environment interactions are predominantly of the non-crossover type and have only a small effect on changes in the ranking of accessions between seasons, allowing selections to be made at any time of year. At least part of the genotypic variation in nitrate accumulation is associated with differences in shoot water content.


Burns, I. G.; Zhang, K.; Turner, M. K.; Meacham, M.; Al-Redhiman, K.; Lynn, J.; Broadley, M. R.; Hand, P.; Pink, D. A. C. (2011) "Screening for Genotype and Environment Effects on Nitrate 1 Accumulation in 24 Species of Young Lettuce"Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 91 (3) pp 553-562

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