ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 102, No. 2 (2015), p. 159–166
DOI 10.13080/z-a.2015.102.021

Chlorophyll values as a measure of genetic variation of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) populations under cool temperate climate conditions



The goal of this study was to evaluate the variability of SPAD chlorophyll meter values in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) accessions and improve the selection of plants most suitable for biofuel. Chlorophyll values were recorded five times during plant vegetation from stem elongation to seed filling stages for two consecutive years. Chlorophyll content was increasing from the stem elongation to the anthesis and later declined. Chlorophyll values reached the maximal mean values of 36.8 to 42.3 (device units) during anthesis depending on the evaluation year and the nursery evaluated. This shows that Lithuanian climate conditions are favourable for photosynthetic activity of switchgrass. Chlorophyll values were successfully differentiated at the accession and individual plant level. As a cross-pollinating species, switchgrass plants, characterized by high chlorophyll values, should be selected until anthesis. At this stage the differences between chlorophyll value coefficients of variation of the accessions were similar to those during the anthesis. The mean coefficients of the variation of accessions’ chlorophyll values during heading ranged from 4.98% to 15.0%. Such coefficients show low variability within the accessions but a higher possibility for the selection of plants with desirable chlorophyll values from a broad range of accessions. Selection of plants with similar chlorophyll values should accelerate development of new cultivars.

Key words: chlorophyll, growth stages, selection, SPAD readings.

Full text:  102_2_str21.pdf