Leaf dhurrin content is a quantitative measure of the level of pre- and postflowering drought tolerance in sorghum

John J. Burke, Junping Chen, Gloria Burow, Yehia Mechref, Darrell Rosenow, Paxton Payton, Zhanguo Xin, Chad M. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The presence of preflowering or postflowering drought tolerance has been described in sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench]. Sorghum lines with preflowering drought tolerance tend to senesce under postflowering drought stress while sorghum lines with postflowering drought tolerance (the stay-green trait) tend to be sensitive to preflowering drought stress. Assessments of these phenotypes have been dependent on the incidence of drought stress conditions at specific developmental stages to achieve meaningful evaluation. Therefore, fieldbased evaluations, most of which are visual, are notoriously difficult to perform and require growing lines in multiple locations across several years to achieve efficient selection for these traits. Here we report and demonstrate a correlation between leaf dhurrin [(S)-p-hydroxymandelonitrile- b-D-glucopyranoside] contents and the level of stay-green based on leaf and plant death ratings during postflowering drought stresses. Postflowering drought-tolerant staygreen sorghums had elevated dhurrin contents while preflowering drought-tolerant sorghum lines exhibited lower dhurrin contents. Lines with intermediate leaf and plant death ratings exhibited intermediate dhurrin levels. Finally, dhurrin levels determined before flowering from sorghum grown under irrigated or dryland conditions were related to the degree of pre- or postflowering drought tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1065
Number of pages10
JournalCrop Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


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