Induction of Drought Tolerance in Maize (Zea mays L.) due to Exogenous Application of Trehalose: Growth, Photosynthesis, Water Relations and Oxidative Defence Mechanism

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2011
Authors:Ali, Q, Ashraf, M
Journal:Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science
Date Published:2011
ISBN Number:1439-037X
Keywords:antioxidants, Drought, maize, osmolytes, photosynthesis, Trehalose

The present investigation was conducted to assess the ameliorative effects of foliar-applied trehalose on growth, photosynthetic attributes, water relation parameters and oxidative defence mechanism in two maize cultivars under field water deficit conditions. Various components of the experiment comprised two maize cultivars (EV-1098 and Agaiti-2002), two water-stress levels (irrigation after 2 weeks and irrigation after 3 weeks during the entire period of growth), and two levels of trehalose (0 and 30 mm) and four replicates of each treatment. Water stress significantly reduced the plant biomass production, photosynthetic attributes and water relation parameters in both maize cultivars. In contrast, water stress considerably increased the leaf malondialdehyde (MDA) contents, the activities of antioxidant enzymes such as peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), and the levels of non-enzymatic compounds such as ascorbic acid and tocopherols. In contrast, water stress caused a marked reduction in leaf phenolic contents. Foliar-applied trehalose significantly increased plant biomass production, and improved some key photosynthetic attributes and plant–water relation parameters. The ameliorative effect of exogenously applied trehalose was also observed on the activities of some key antioxidant enzymes (POD and CAT) and non-enzymatic compounds (tocopherols and phenolics). Overall, exogenously applied trehalose considerably improved drought tolerance of maize plants by up-regulating photosynthetic and water relation attributes as well as antioxidant defence mechanism.

Short Title:Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science
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