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 (Cicer arietinum L.) cultivars. Plants were grown either under optimum 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 chickpea 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 concentrations, but lower RWL and membrane permeability in comparison to drought-sensitive cultivars. The significant and a well defined relationships between DSI and RWC, RWL, ascorbic acid, proline, and membrane permeability were found. It was concluded that these parameters could be instrumental in predicting the drought tolerance of chickpea cultivars.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 18, 2011
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