Soluble sugar content in silique wall and seeds of rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) has significant effects on seed oil formation and accumulation. We studied the relationship between soluble sugar content in B. napus seeds and silique wall and oil concentration under field conditions in two cropping seasons, and examined changes in soluble sugar content in seeds and silique wall under different nitrogen (N) levels. Two commercialised Chinese rapeseed varieties, HZ9 and HZ62, with high seed yield and different N responses were used. Our results indicated that carbon (C) : N ratio and soluble sugar content in silique wall had the greater effect on seed oil concentration. When C : N ratio and soluble sugar content in silique wall were within 5–15% and 10–25%, respectively, plants had relatively well coordinated C and N metabolism, facilitating oil accumulation. During 25–35 days of silique development, when C : N ratio and soluble sugar content in silique wall were within 10–15 and 15–25%, respectively, oil synthesis was fastest; the highest accumulation rate was 3.8% per day. When they were each <5%, seeds tended to mature, and oil synthesis gradually decreased, ceased or degraded. During the early stage of silique development, if C : N ratio and soluble sugar content in silique wall were >15% and 30%, there was no apparent tendency for oil accumulation, probably because of adverse environmental conditions. When N application increased from 0 to 270 kg ha–1, final oil concentration in seeds decreased by 0.024%. In summary, C : N ratio and soluble sugar content in silique wall are important in regulating seed oil concentration, whereas excessive N application significantly reduced seed oil concentration. Therefore, appropriate reduction of N application would save resources, provide environment benefits and increase rapeseed oil production with no substantial reduction in seed yield, through coordinated seed yield and oil concentration.
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Vol. 69 • No. 12