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Foliar applied iron and zinc improves the growth, physiological and yield related traits of wheat under drought

Rashid Iqbal, Muhammad Aown Sammar Raza, Muhammad Farrukh Saleem, Imran Haider Khan, Muhammad Saqlain Zaheer, Salman Ahmad, Imran Haider, Muhammad Usman Aslam, Monika Toleikiene

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Int. J. Biosci.14(3), 361-372, March 2019

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/14.3.361-372


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Water is the basic unit for sustaining healthy plant life. Limited or unavailability of water leads to ultimate plant death. Drought severely affects the yield of wheat, especially when it occurs at the critical growth stages like tillering and anthesis. Therefore, attempts have been and being made to develop measures to combat the drought effects in wheat. This study investigated the sole and/or integrated use of Iron (Fe) and Zinc (Zn) spray on growth and yield of Wheat under drought stress. Drought was created at the tillering and anthesis stages by withholding the irrigation. At both these stages, different doses of Zn and Fe were applied alone and/or in combination. Results revealed that drought stress significantly (P<0.05) reduced the 1000- grain weight (30 vs. 42g), number of grains per spike (27 vs. 62), spike length (11 vs. 17cm), number of spikelets per spike (22 vs. 9) physiological (leaf chlorophyll content, stomatal conductance & photosynthetic rate) and water related traits. Combine application of Fe and Zn to wheat under drought significantly increased the 1000 grain weight (40g), seed yield (5350 kg/ha), relative water content, leaf osmotic potential, leaf water potential, protein content (16%) and spike length (16cm). The Zn was more effective in mitigating the ill impacts of drought as compared to the Fe alone. While, combine spray of both Zn and Fe, gave best results as compared to the sole application of either nutrient. Results of this study lead us to conclude that both Zn and Fe have the ability to compensate the detrimental effects caused by drought stress and their combine use can be more useful as compared to their sole usage.


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Foliar applied iron and zinc improves the growth, physiological and yield related traits of wheat under drought

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