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Methane transport capacity of rice plants. II. Variations among different rice cultivars and relationship with morphological characteristics

: Aulakh, M.S.; Bodenbender, J.; Wassmann, R.; Rennenberg, H.


Nutrient cycling in agroecosystems 58 (2000), Nr.1/3, S.367-375
ISSN: 1385-1314
Fraunhofer IFU; 2002 in Helmholtz-Gesellschaft integriert
plant mediated gas transfer; methane emission; rice cultivars; rhizosphere; automated methane measurement; plant growth stage; global warming; greenhouse effect; plant biomass; plant tillers; Bioenergie; bioenergy

Of the total methane (CH4) emitted from a rice field during the growing season, 60 - 90 % is emitted through the rice plants. We determined the methane transport capacity (MTC) of rice plants at different physiological growth stages using an automatic measuring system under greenhouse conditions. A total of 12 cultivars (10 inbred varieties and 2 hybrids) were studied in sets of tow experiments and was distinguished into three groups according to the pattern of MTC development. MTC is generally increasing from seedling stage to panicle initiation (PI), but differs in the development from PI to maturity. While the hybrid showed a gradual increase in MTC, the inbred cultivars showed either minor changes in MTC or a drastic decrease from flowering to maturity. Among tall cultivars, Dular showed the highest MTC, followed by B40; the lowest MTC was found in Intan. High-yielding dwarf cultivars showed MTC in the descending order of IR72 > IR52 > IR64 > PSBRc 20. New plant type cultivars showed very low MTC with IR65600 exhibiting the smallest MTC at PI, flowering, and maturity. Hybrids (Magat and APHR 2) showed the largest MTC that continued to increase with plant growth. The MTC patterns were attributed to growth parameters and the development of morphological characteristics of the aerenchyma. These results suggest that in tall, dwarf, and NPT cultivars, increase in root or aboveground biomass during initial growth determines a corresponding increase in MTC. Once aerenchyma has fully developed, further increase in plant biomass would not influence MTC. However, in the case of hybrids, a positive relationship of MTC with root + shoot biomass (r = 0.672, p > 0.05) and a total plant biomass including grain (r = 0.849, p > 0.01) indicate continuous development of aerenchyma with plant growth, resulting in enhanced MTC. In all cultivars, tiller number, but not height, was linearly related to MTC, indicating that the number of outlets/channels rather than plant size/biomass determines the transport of CH4. These results clearly demonstrate that rice cultivars differ significantly in MTC. Therefore, the use of high-yielding cultivars with low MTC (for example, PSBRc 20, IR65598, and IR65600) could be an economically feasible, environmentally sound, and promising approach to mitigate CH4 emissions from rice fields.