Response of maize (Zea mays L.) to seed priming with NaCl and salinity stress

J. Bakht, M. Shafi, Y. Jamal, H. Sher

Abstract


Salinity is one of the biggest limitants for agriculture in semi-arid areas of the world. An experiment was conducted to study the effect of seed priming with 6 dS m–1 NaCl on growth and yield responses of two maize cultivars (Azam and Sarhad yellow) exposed to three levels of salinity (0, 6, 8 dS m–1). Statistical analysis of the data revealed that cultivars, seed priming with saline water (6 dS m–1) and subsequent exposure to salinity stress had a significant (p < 0.05) effect on germination, days to emergence, plant height, shoot fresh weight, shoot dry weight, leaf area, shoot Na+, K+, proline, abscisic acid contents and yield variables. The results suggested that increasing salinity level had a negative effect on the growth and development of both cultivars under study. Analysis of the data also revealed that maize cv Azam performed better than cv. Sarhad yellow when exposed to different levels of salinity. Priming of cv Azam with NaCl resulted in earlier emergence (2 days) and germination rate (31.92%), plant height (12%), shoot proline (950.33 μg g–1 fresh weight) and ABA levels (0.983 and 1.203 μg g–1 fresh weight) and yield (36% than the non-primed treatment). These results suggest that priming of maize seeds with NaCl before sowing induces physiological and biochemical changes, which resulted in better performance when subsequently exposed to different levels of salinity.

Keywords


plant growth; proline; salinity tolerance; sodium

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References


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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/20110901-113-10