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Bolang Chen, Zhongping Chai, Jiandong Sheng, Wentai Zhang and Pingan Jiang

Endogenous hormones are a key factor in cotton fiber quality. Studying the relationship among endogenous hormone contents and fiber quality can provide a theoretical basis for exploring physiological measurements to improve fiber quality. The relationships among endogenous hormone contents and fiber quality for different boll positions and potassium (K) conditions were investigated for the main cultivar ‘Xinluzao 24.’ We used eight application rates of K fertilizer (K2O 0, 37.5, 75, 112.5, 150, 37.5 and sprayed 1% K2SO4, 75 and sprayed 1% K2SO4, and 150 and sprayed 1% K2SO4 kg ha-1 under field conditions). We then measured the contents of indoleacetic acid (IAA), gibberellin (GA3), zeatin (Z), and abscisic acid (ABA) in relation to changes in fiber quality indices. Results showed that application of K fertilizer significantly increased the contents of IAA, GA3, and Z in the upper and middle boll, and decreased the contents of ABA in the upper, middle, and the lower boll. Compared with the control, applying K fertilizer between 37.5 kg K2O ha–1 and 112.5 kg K2O ha–1 can significantly increase the length, uniformity, strength, micronaire, and maturity of fiber in three parts of the plant. However, excessive application of K fertilizer can reduce fiber uniformity, strength, and micronaire in these locations. Through comprehensive comparison, we determined that the optimal application of K fertilizer for regulating endogenous hormones and improving fiber quality was a basal application of 75 kg K2O ha–1 and a spray application of 1% K2SO4. The endogenous hormones IAA, GA3, and Z can improve cotton fiber quality, but ABA can inhibit cotton fiber quality. Results indicate that reasonable applications of potassium fertilizer could regulate endogenous hormones and improve fiber quality.

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