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31 July 2015 Phosphate response of Trifolium uniflorum compared with T. repens and some T. repens × T. uniflorum hybrids
S. N. Nichols, J. R. Crush
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Introgression of genes from Trifolium uniflorum L. into T. repens L. (white clover) is being investigated as a method to improve phosphorus (P) use efficiency in white clover; however, little is known about the edaphic adaptations or P physiology of T. uniflorum. Growth responses to added P of T. uniflorum, T. repens and some T. repens × T. uniflorum hybrids were determined in a glasshouse experiment in pots of soil. Trifolium uniflorum showed traits consistent with adaptation to low-P soils: slow growth rate, small leaves, relatively high leaf-tissue P concentrations, and sequestration of P in its roots when soil P levels were increased. The response of Kopu II, one of the hybrid backcross parents, was quite different; it showed high growth rate, large leaves, much lower leaf P concentrations, and a large decrease in root : shoot P allocation as soil P increased. Tahora, the other backcross parent, exhibited several characteristics that were intermediate between Kopu II and T. uniflorum, probably reflecting its breeding origins from New Zealand hill-country ecotypes. This study confirms the potential for interspecific hybridisation with T. uniflorum to increase the tolerance of white clover to low soil P levels, through incorporation of traits related to edaphic adaptations. Variation among the hybrid families in their response to changing soil P confirmed previously published conclusions about the need to screen widely in hybrid material.

© CSIRO 2015
S. N. Nichols and J. R. Crush "Phosphate response of Trifolium uniflorum compared with T. repens and some T. repens × T. uniflorum hybrids," Crop and Pasture Science 66(8), 857-863, (31 July 2015).
Received: 10 September 2014; Accepted: 1 February 2015; Published: 31 July 2015
interspecific hybridisation
phosphorus-use efficiency
soil fertility
Trifolium repens
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