BACKGROUND: In the last two decades, newly released rice cultivars in southeastern China have been mainly characterised by more grains per cm panicle (GPCP), i.e. a compact panicle. These compact panicle cultivars show high yield potential but inferior quality. Accordingly, experiments were conducted to study the effect of GPCP on grain weight and quality.
RESULTS: Two compact panicle and two loose panicle cultivars of japonica rice were used to investigate the effect of GPCP on the variation in grain weight and quality within a panicle. Significant differences in grain quality, including brown rice length, width and length/width ratio, brown rice and head-milled rice percentages, chalky grain percentage and amylose and protein contents, were found among grains within a panicle. In general, the compact panicle cultivars showed lower grain weight and larger variation in brown rice length, width and length/width ratio, chalky grain percentage and amylose content among grains within a panicle than the loose panicle cultivars.
CONCLUSION: GPCP is negatively associated with quality uniformity, and increasing the grain number on top secondary rachises may reduce the variation in grain weight and quality within a panicle. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry