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Low available phosphorus (P) still remains a major limitation to maize (Zea mays L.) productivity in low P soils. The objectives of this study were to (i) determine the extent of genetic variation in P efficiency among selected Kenyan maize under low P soils (ii) select P efficient maize experimental hybrids. A total of 32 experimental hybrids were evaluated for variation in tolerance to low P at high P (36kgP/ha) and low P (6kgP/ha) conditions across four locations using split plot arrangement in RCBD replicated three times. Mean grain yield was significantly lower (2.49 t/ha) across the low P treatment compared to the high P treatments (4.78 t/ha). Relative yield reduction was comparable across the four locations except at Sega where it was a little higher (59.4%). A 48.9% mean yield reduction was observed at the low P treatment compared with the high P treatment across the locations. Eighteen out of the 32 experimental hybrids exhibited Agronomic Efficiency (AE) above the locational mean > 44.8 kgkg-1 P. Mean phosphorus efficiency ratio (PER) of 546.7 kgkg-1 P was obtained across the four locations with Migori exhibiting the highest mean (556.5 kgkg P-1). Majority of the experimental hybrids (57%) had higher phosphorus acquisition efficiency (PAE) than the average of all the genotypes. A mean phosphorus efficiency (PE) of 71.6 % was recorded across the locations. In most cases, genotypes showing higher P efﬁciency traits (PE, PAE, PUE, AE, PER) had higher grain yield production under low P supply. The genetic variation observed among the maize genotypes demonstrates the potential for maize improvement which will facilitate efficient acquisition and utilization of the limited Pi fertilizers.
Rosane Cavalcante Fragoso, Brasil
Chief Scientific Officer and Head of a Research Group
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