Husk to caryopsis adhesion in barley is influenced by pre- and post-anthesis temperatures through changes in a cuticular cementing layer on the caryopsis

M Brennan, T Shepherd, S Mitchell, CFE Topp, SP Hoad

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Abstract

Background At ripeness, the outer husk of “covered” barley grains firmly adheres to the underlying caryopsis. A cuticular cementing layer on the caryopsis is required for husk adhesion, however the quality of adhesion varies significantly among cultivars which produce the cementing layer, resulting in the economically important malting defect, grain skinning. The composition of the cementing layer, and grain organ development have been hypothesised to influence the quality of husk adhesion. Plants of Hordeum vulgare ‘Concerto’ were grown at different temperatures pre- and post-anthesis to effect changes in the development of the husk, caryopsis and cuticular cementing layer, to determine how these variables influence the quality of husk-to-caryopsis adhesion. Results Warm conditions pre-anthesis decreased the quality of husk adhesion, and consequently increased the incidence of grain skinning. Cool post-anthesis conditions further decreased the quality of husk adhesion. The composition of the cementing layer, rather than its structure, differed with respect husk adhesion quality. This cementing layer was produced at the late milk stage, occurring between nine and 29 days post-anthesis, conditional on the temperature-dependent growth rate. The compounds octadecanol, tritriacontane, campesterol and β-sitosterol were most abundant in caryopses with high-quality husk adhesion. The differences in adhesion quality were not due to incompatible husk and caryopsis dimensions affecting organ contact. Conclusions This study shows that husk-to-caryopsis adhesion is dependent on cementing layer composition, and implies that this composition is regulated by temperature before, and during grain development. Understanding this regulation will be key to improving husk-to-caryopsis adhesion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number169
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Volume17
Early online date23 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 23 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

1024740
1031384
1031385

Keywords

  • Caryopsis
  • Cementing layer
  • Grain development
  • Grain skinning
  • Hordeum vulgare
  • Husk adhesion
  • Malting barley

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