Alleviation of Salinity Stress in Maize Using Silicon Nutrition
Improving salinity tolerance through mineral nutrition in plants is emerging strategy for sustainable agriculture under limited resources. Silicon (Si) is considered as silver bullet to mitigate biotic and abiotic stresses. Present study was conducted to understand the new mechanisms of Si nutrition against salinity stress in two different maize (Zea mays L.) cultivars (‘Syngenta-8441’ and ‘Pearl’). Three different levels of NaCl (0.67, 8 and 13 dSm-1) were used with and without addition of silicic acid (2 mM). Distilled water was used for irrigation purposes and crop was harvested after 40 days of post germination. Results indicated that plant biomass reduced under saline condition while Si application increased growth parameters. Data regarding chemical analysis showed that Si nutrition reduced Na+ concentration and enhanced K+ levels in root, shoot, new and old leaves of ‘Sygenta 8441’ compared to ‘Pearl’ maize variety. Si application improved both chlorophyll a and b in both maize cultivars compared to NaCl-treated plants. The current findings indicate that Si nutrition can alleviate salinity stress in maize without decreasing growth attributes of crop and ‘Sygenta 8441’ is a salt resistant variety whereas ‘Pearl’ is a salt sensitive variety.
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