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Ameliorating detrimental effects of water deficit stress in maize by foliarally applied silicon and chitosan

Hafiza Samra Younas, Muhammad Abid and Muhammad Ashraf


Water deficit stress is the most devastating abiotic stress to limit crop productivity, particularly in regions of semiarid to arid climate. Different strategies have been used to improve plant resistance to water deficit stress, however, addition of organic and inorganic substances might be more effective and environment friendly. Present study investigated the protective role of silicon (Si) and chitosan against water deficit stress effects in maize (Zea mays L.). Experimental plan consisted of two soil moisture levels i.e. well-watered (100% field capacity, FC) and water deficit stress (50% FC), two levels of Si (0 and 2 mM) and two levels of chitosan (0 and 200 mg L-1), and replicated thrice. Foliar application of Si and chitosan was made for three times i.e. 10, 20 and 30 days after germination. Water deficit stress reduced the shoot length by 30%, shoot fresh weight 46%, shoot dry weight 54%, and root length 40%, root fresh weight 54% and root dry weight 74% as compared to well-watered condition. Foliar applied Si and chitosan either alone or in combination stimulated the activities of antioxidant enzymes with a consequent improvement of 30% in chlorophyll-a and 40% in chlorophyll-b, 33% membrane stability index (MSI), 30% relative water content (RWC) and 46% soluble protein with Si+chitosan under water deficit stress compared to well-watered plants without Si+chitosan. In conclusion, foliar application of Si and chitosan was found to be effective for improving plant adaptation to water deficit stress, where maximum improvement was recorded with the integrated use of Si and chitosan

To Cite this article: Younas, H.S., M. Abid and M. Ashraf. 2022. Ameliorating detrimental effects of water deficit stress in maize by foliarally applied silicon and chitosan. Pak. J. Bot., 54(2): DOI:  

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