American Journal of Applied Sciences

Comparative Effects of Drought and Salt Stress on Germination and Seedling Growth of Pennisetum divisum (Gmel.) Henr.

Wafa’a A. Al-Taisan

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2010.640.646

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 7, Issue 5

Pages 640-646


Problem statement: Water stress due to drought and salinity is probably the most significant abiotic factor limiting plant and also crop growth and development. Salinity and drought stresses are physiologically related, because both induce osmotic stress and most of the metabolic responses of the affected plants are similar to some extent. Water deficit affects the germination of seed and the growth of seedlings negatively. Temperature is an exceedingly important factor in seed germination. It directly affects whether a plant can sprout and, if so, how long it will take to emerge from the ground. Approach: The objective of this investigation was to determine the effect of four alternating temperature regime, drought and salt stress on germination characteristics of Pennisetum divisum. Seeds were germinated at four alternating temperatures (10/20, 15/25, 20/35 and 25/40°C at 12 h light). Seeds were also germinated with the iso-osmotic concentrations of sodium chloride (NaCl) or in polyethylene glycol PEG8000 (0, -0.2, -0.4, -0.6 and -0.8 MPa) for 14 days. Concentrations were applied to determine their effects on seed germination and seedling growth under laboratory conditions. The effects of different osmotic concentrations of NaCl and PEG were compared to distilled water (control). Results: Optimum germination was attained at 15/25°C which corresponds to temperatures prevailing during spring time. The highest values of germination parameters were obtained with no osmotic potential (0 MPa) under 15/25°C. The final germination percentage and rate of germination in the Pennisetum divisum treated seeds were decreased with the increase of the osmotic potential. At treatment by PEG, the germination was severely decreased at -0.6 MPa. While, no germination occurred at- 0.8 MPa by NaCl. The results of the effects of the different osmotic potential of NaCl and PEG on the Radicle Length (RL) and the Hypocotyl Length (HL) mm of the tested P. divisum seeds were retarded when compared to the control. Conclusion: Results indicated germination sensitive to both the stresses. However, seedling growth was more sensitive to NaCl than was germination. However, seedling growth was more sensitive to NaCl than was germination responses to water stress induced by PEG and NaCl. Results also indicated that seed germination of P. divisum is less sensitive to osmotic potential indicating that the seeds of the species are efficient in osmotically adjusting to soluble salts. This suggests the possibility of revegtating moderately salt affected soils.


© 2010 Wafa’a A. Al-Taisan. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.