Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



2017 The Authors. Plant Direct published by American Society of Plant Biologists, Society for Experimental Biology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Plant Direct. 2017;1–13.

DOI: 10.1002/pld3.23


Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a rapidly growing, high-biomass crop prized for abiotic stress tolerance. However, measuring genotype-by-environment (G x E) interactions remains a progress bottleneck. We subjected a panel of 30 genetically diverse sorghum genotypes to a spectrum of nitrogen deprivation and measured responses using high-throughput phenotyping technology followed by ionomic profiling. Responses were quantified using shape (16 measurable outputs), color (hue and intensity), and ionome (18 elements). We measured the speed at which specific genotypes respond to environmental conditions, in terms of both biomass and color changes, and identified individual genotypes that perform most favorably. With this analysis, we present a novel approach to quantifying colorbased stress indicators over time. Additionally, ionomic profiling was conducted as an independent, low-cost, and high-throughput option for characterizing G x E, identifying the elements most affected by either genotype or treatment and suggesting signaling that occurs in response to the environment. This entire dataset and associated scripts are made available through an open-access, user-friendly, web-based interface. In summary, this work provides analysis tools for visualizing and quantifying plant abiotic stress responses over time. These methods can be deployed as a time-efficient method of dissecting the genetic mechanisms used by sorghum to respond to the environment to accelerate crop improvement.