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Potassium improves photosynthetic tolerance to and recovery from episodic drought stress in functional leaves of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Zahoor, Rizwan, Zhao, Wenqing, Dong, Haoran, Snider, John L., Abid, Muhammad, Iqbal, Babar, Zhou, Zhiguo
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2017 v.119 pp. 21-32
Gossypium hirsutum, antioxidants, cotton, cultivars, drought, enzyme activity, leaf water potential, leaves, lipid peroxidation, photosystem II, potassium, proline, stomatal conductance, water stress
To investigate whether potassium (K) application enhances the potential of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) plants to maintain physiological functions during drought and recovery, low K-sensitive (Siza 3) and -tolerant (Simian 3) cotton cultivars were exposed to three K rates (0, 150, and 300 K2O kg ha−1) and either well-watered conditions or severe drought stress followed by a recovery period. Under drought stress, cotton plants showed a substantial decline in leaf water potential, stomatal conductance, photosynthetic rate, and the maximum and actual quantum yield of PSII, resulting in greater non-photochemical quenching and lipid peroxidation as compared to well-watered plants. However, plants under K application not only showed less of a decline in these traits but also displayed greater potential to recover after rewatering as compared to the plants without K application. Plants receiving K application showed lower lipid peroxidation, higher antioxidant enzyme activities, and increased proline accumulation as compared to plants without K application. Significant relationships between rates of photosynthetic recovery and K application were observed. The cultivar Siza 3 exhibited a more positive response to K application than Simian 3. The results suggest that K application enhances the cotton plant's potential to maintain functionality under drought and facilitates recovery after rewatering.