NITROGEN USE EFFICIENCY AND 13C ISOTOPE DISCRIMINATION IN NMR151 AND NMR152 RICE MUTANT LINES UNDER DIFFERENT WATER POTENTIALS AND NITROGEN RATES
This study was conducted to evaluate the nitrogen use efficiency and 13C isotope discrimination of rice mutant lines viz. NMR151 and NMR152. Both cultivars are developed under rice radiation mutagenesis programme for adaptability to aerobic conditions. In the present study, NMR151 and NMR152 were grown under conditions of varying water potentials and nitrogen levels in a shade house. The rice mutant lines were planted on sandy loam soil. Three watering regimes and three nitrogen levels in a completely randomized design with three replications were carried out. The rice mutants were grown for 110 days under three water potentials, (i) Field capacity from 0 to 40 DAS and saturated from 41 to 110 DAS [ST], (ii) Field capacity from 0 to 110 DAS [FC], and (iii) Field capacity from 0 to 40 DAS and 70% of field capacity from 41 to 110 DAS [SS]. Direct 15N isotopic tracer method was used in this study, whereby the 15N labelled urea fertilizer 5.20% atom excess (a.e) was utilized as a tracer for nitrogen use efficiency study (NUE) by the test crops. 15N isotope presence in the samples was determined using emission spectrometry and percentage of total nitrogen was determined by the Kjeldahl method. 15N a.e values of the samples were used in the determination of the efficiency of N used by the mutant varieties. The 13C isotope discrimination (Δ13C) technique was used as a tool to identify drought resistance rice species with improves water use efficiency (WUE). WUE is the ratio of the biomass produced by the water consumed. For 13C discrimination analysis, a sample of rice leaf was analyzed for 13C content by using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS). The parameter, viz. plant height, number of tillers, grain yield, 1000 grain weight, NUE, Δ13C and WUE were recorded. Results from this study showed nitrogen rates imparted significant effects on plant height, number of tillers, grain yield, 1000 grain weight and WUE, while water potentials had significant effects on plant height, grain yield, 1000 grain weight, NUE, Δ13C and WUE. Δ13C has a low but significantly negative relationship with WUE. Rice mutants NMR151 and NMR152 were found to be not significantly different except for their NUE.