ISSN 1021-4437, Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, 2008, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 59–67. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2008.
L.) is an ancient legume
crop believed to have originated in south-eastern Tur-
key and the adjoining part of Syria. It is the second most
important pulse crop in the world. It covers 15% of the
cultivated area and contributes to 14% (7.9 million ton)
of the world’s pulse harvest of about 58 million ton .
In Turkey, chickpea rotates with cereals, mostly wheat,
in rain-fed areas. Water stress during vegetative and/or
reproductive growth stages is one of the most limiting
factors for chickpea growth.
It has been estimated that about one-third of the
world’s potentially viable land suffers from an inade-
quate supply of water, and on most of the reminder,
: DSI—drought susceptibility index; EDS—early
drought stress; LDS—late drought stress; MDA—malondialde-
hyde; RCC—relative chlorophyll content; RWC—relative water
content; RWL—excised leaf water loss.
This text was submitted by the authors in English.
crop yields are periodically reduced by drought .
One of the most serious problems encountered in semi-
arid and arid climatic regions is the lack of water to
obtain sufﬁcient yield from crop plants. Drought is a
multidimensional abiotic stress, which causes various
physiological and biochemical effects on plants. Such
effects may include reduction of growth, decrease in
chlorophyll, increase in hydrogen peroxide, which
causes lipid peroxidation and consequently membrane
injury, increases in ascorbic acid and proline concentra-
tions [3–5]. These parameters may promise for charac-
terizing drought resistance in screening studies. High
relative water content (RWC) and low excised-leaf
water loss (RWL) were related to drought resistance,
and these parameters have also been proposed as more
important indicators of water status than the other water
potential parameters under drought stress [6–8]. The
above parameters have been used as screening tech-
niques separately in different crops; their relative efﬁ-
Effect of Drought Stress Implemented at Pre- or Post-Anthesis
Stage on Some Physiological Parameters as Screening Criteria
in Chickpea Cultivars
, A. Inal
, M. S. Adak
, E. G. Bagci
, N. Cicek
, and F. Eraslan
Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ankara, 06100 Ankara, Turkey;
fax: +90 312 3178465; e-mail: email@example.com
Department of Field Crops, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ankara, 06100 Ankara, Turkey
Received November 11, 2006
—Drought is one of the most important factors limiting chickpea production in arid and semi-arid
regions. There is little information regarding genotypic variation for drought tolerance in chickpea cultivars.
Screening for drought tolerance is very important. It is essential to identify the physiological mechanisms of
drought tolerance to complete conventional breeding program. Glasshouse experiment was carried out to study
the genotypic variation among 11 chickpea (
L.) cultivars. Plants were grown either under opti-
mum conditions or drought stress was implemented at pre- or post-anthesis stages. The drought susceptibility
index (DSI) was used as the measure of drought tolerance. Relationships between DSI and excised-leaf water
loss (RWL), relative water content (RWC), membrane permeability, ascorbic acid, proline, and chlorophyll
contents, lipid peroxidation, and hydrogen peroxide concentrations were determined in order to ﬁnd out
whether these physiological parameters could be used as the genotypic selection criteria for drought tolerance.
The results of this study indicated that there was a wide variation in tolerance to drought stress among the chick-
pea cultivars, which could be exploited in breeding new chickpea cultivars with high drought tolerance. The
results also demonstrated that drought-tolerant cultivars had a higher RWC, ascorbic acid and proline concen-
trations, but lower RWL and membrane permeability in comparison to drought-sensitive cultivars. The signiﬁ-
cant and a well deﬁned relationships between DSI and RWC, RWL, ascorbic acid, proline, and membrane per-
meability were found. It was concluded that these parameters could be instrumental in predicting the drought
tolerance of chickpea cultivars.
Key words: Cicer arietinum genotypes - ascorbic acid - chlorophyll - drought tolerance - excised-leaf water
loss - H
- lipid peroxidation - membrane permeability - proline - relative water content