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Foliar calcium spray confers drought stress tolerance in maize via modulation of plant growth, water relations, proline content and hydrogen peroxide activity
- Naeem, Muhammad, Naeem, Muhammad Shahbaz, Ahmad, Rashid, Ihsan, Muhammad Zahid, Ashraf, Muhammad Yasin, Hussain, Yasir, Fahad, Shah
- Archiv für Acker- und Pflanzenbau und Bodenkunde 2018 v.64 no.1 pp. 116-131
- Zea mays, calcium, climate, corn, cultivars, drought tolerance, foliar application, grain yield, hydrogen peroxide, photosynthesis, plant growth, proline, stomatal conductance, sugars, water potential, water stress
- Water and nutrient restrictions are the factors that limiting growth of maize in arid/semi-arid climate. Calcium (Ca²⁺) uptake is affected severely under drought stress (DS). The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of DS and foliar applied Ca²⁺ on growth, physiological, biochemical, yield and grain-nutrient content in two maize cultivars i.e. drought-tolerantDekalb-6525 and drought-sensitive Yousafwala-hybrid. The study comprised of two phases; firstly the best rate of Ca²⁺ (20, 40 and 60 mg L−1) was evaluated. Secondly, optimized rate of Ca²⁺ (40 mg L−1) was used to assess physio-biochemical and yield responses of maize under DS. The applied DS caused significant reduction in maize growth, water-status, photosynthesis and grain nutrient contents. Foliar Ca²⁺ markedly improved plant growth, water-potential (18%), turgor-potential (75%), photosynthesis (45%), stomatal-conductance (47%), transpiration rate (43%) and accumulation of total soluble sugars (20%) along with decline in H2O2 content (23%) in both cultivars under DS. Furthermore, optimized rate of Ca²⁺ improved maize grain yield and quality under water-deficit conditions. Cultivar Dekalb-6525 presented significant response to Ca²⁺ over Yousafwala-hybrid. Results of the study surmise that foliar supply of Ca²⁺ is an effective approach to make plants vigorous to thrive under limited-water supply.