Efficacy of antioxidant overproduction on fiber growth and maturation in cotton
Electron transport in plant cells inevitably results in the creation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can hinder metabolic processes and cause cellular damage. In spite of the gains additional antioxidants may impart to the cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) photosynthetic apparatus, single time point measurements on live plants have not reflected distinguishable phenotypes for key physiological measures. Transgene efficacy may also be quantified by measuring cumulative agronomic performance (lint yield and quality) under conditions that promote photorespiration and ROS production. To test this hypothesis, cotton lines constitutively expressing the ascorbate peroxidase (APX) or glutathione reductase (GR) protein were examined in field trials (2005, 2006, and 2007) under three different irrigation treatments. Yield, gin turnout, and 23 measures of fiber quality were assessed. Transgene (APX and GR) efficacy and in vitro culture effects were estimated by comparing a line's performance with the null and wild-type checks based on an analysis of variance using a linear mixed model to estimate general least squares and variance components. Significant effects were observed in 18 traits. Despite no significant changes in fiber maturity, all GR and APX transgenic lines produced significantly finer fibers than the wild-type. Fiber maturity is a problem in western Texas that affects most fiber quality measures especially the fineness measurement micronaire.