09 March 2017
Phenotyping, via remote and proximal sensing techniques, of the agronomic and physiological traits associated with yield potential and drought adaptation could contribute to improvements in breeding programs. In the present study, 384 genotypes of wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.) were tested under fully irrigated (FI) and water stress (WS) conditions. The following traits were evaluated and assessed via spectral reflectance: Grain yield (GY), spikes per square meter (SM2), kernels per spike (KPS), thousand-kernel weight (TKW), chlorophyll content (SPAD), stem water soluble carbohydrate concentration and content (WSC and WSCC, respectively), carbon isotope discrimination (Δ 13C), and leaf area index (LAI). The performances of spectral reflectance indices (SRIs), four regression algorithms (PCR, PLSR, ridge regression RR, and SVR), and three classification methods (PCA-LDA, PLS-DA, and kNN) were evaluated for the prediction of each trait. For the classification approaches, two classes were established for each trait: The lower 80% of the trait variability range (Class 1) and the remaining 20% (Class 2 or elite genotypes). Both the SRIs and regression methods performed better when data from FI and WS were combined. The traits that were best estimated by SRIs and regression methods were GY and Δ 13C. For most traits and conditions, the estimations provided by RR and SVR were the same, or better than, those provided by the SRIs. PLS-DA showed the best performance among the categorical methods and, unlike the SRI and regression models, most traits were relatively well-classified within a specific hydric condition (FI or WS), proving that classification approach is an effective tool to be explored in future studies related to genotype selection.