Maize basal internode development significantly affects stalk lodging resistance

Xiaoxu Zhan, Fanlei Kong, Qinlin Liu, Tianqiong Lan, Yaqi Liu, Juzhen Xu, Qian Ou, Liang Chen, Geert Kessel, Corné Kempenaar, Jichao Yuan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Stalk lodging in maize causes yield and quality losses worldwide. This could potentially be prevented through breeding and improved crop management. Breeding efforts and management optimization are however, hampered by the lack of an internode growth model and an indicator for stalk lodging resistance. With this study, we aim to contribute to a solution for this problem. We report on the results of a two-year field study in which we measured and analyzed plant traits assumed to be related to stalk lodging resistance, in five cultivars. These traits include plant and basal internode morphology, dry matter constituents accumulation, and mechanical strength of basal internode. Results from a logistic regression analysis indicate that, the stalk lodging incidence was significantly affected by the development process of the basal internode. The rapid accumulation duration of lignin, internode plumpness and cellulose were found to be the most important contributors to mechanical strength of basal internode. The correlation between Rind penetration strength (PS) and stalk lodging rate was found to be higher than the correlation between bending strength (BS) and the stalk lodging rate. In addition, PS was found to be more stable than BS over development stages and years. Dry matter constituents accumulation in the basal internode, especially lignin accumulation, were found to be the dominant process determining the mechanical strength of the basal internode. Breeding and crop management strategies aiming to prolong the duration of rapid lignin and dry matter accumulation in the basal internode may thus significantly contribute to improved lodging resistance in future maize cultivars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108611
JournalField Crops Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • Basal internode morphology
  • Development
  • Dry matter constituents accumulation
  • Mechanical strength


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