Infrared thermal imaging as a rapid tool for identifying water-stress tolerant maize genotypes of different phenology
S. Zia, G. Romano, W. Spreer, C. Sanchez, J. Cairns, J.L. Araus and J. Muller
The main task of this research was to evaluate canopy temperature and Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI) by assessing genotype variability of maize performance for different water regimes. To that end, three hundred tropical and subtropical maize hybrids with different phenology in terms of date of anthesis were evaluated. The influence of phenology on the change in canopy temperatures and CWSI was not equal during the three dates of measurement. At the end of vegetative growth (82 days after sowing, DAS) and at the blister stage (DAS 97), a high significant difference in temperatures and CWSI (P < 0.001) were obtained between the early- and late-maturity genotypes. During anthesis (DAS 89), phenology had a significant effect (P < 0.01) only for the well-watered genotypes, while under water-stress conditions, no differences were found between early and late genotypes in terms of canopy temperature and CWSI. High significant differences (P < 0.001) in stomatal conductance (gs) between early and late genotypes for different treatments were observed. A relationship (R2 = 0.62) between gs and canopy temperature was obtained. Under a water-stress canopy, temperature was measured at anthesis, which was negatively correlated with grain yield of the early (r = −0.55)- and late (r = −0.46)-maturity genotypes in the water-stressed condition.