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Genetic Evaluation for Effects of Salt and Drought Stress on Growth Traits of Zea mays Seedlings

Author(s): M. Khalil, M.S. Rashid, Q. Ali and A. Malik

Maize is an important grain cash crop grown throughout the world for its grain and fodder. It is highly sensitive for abiotic stress conditions; like drought, chilling, alkalinity, heat, salt and cold conditions. Present study was carried out to find out the effects of salt or NaCl and drought stress on three selected maize genotypes viz., P6103, L5971 and P1429. The seeds of selected maize genotypes were sown in pots filled with pure sand. The stress treatments were carried out as 0.50 mM NaCl and 50% drought. The treatments were applied 4 times after each 7days of germination of maize seedlings. After the pots were given the treatments of salt and drought data of different parameters were collected, viz., plant weight, root length, shoot length and leaf length after each 7 days of each treatment application. The data was statistically analyzed for the analysis of variation to determine the significance of results. There was a notable increase in root length in drought and control as compared to salt (NaCl) stress, where all growth parameters performed well under NaCl stress. The combined statistical analysis showed that the L6103 genotype worked better under both NaCl and drought stress compared to P1429 and L5971. The genotype that performed less than all types was P1429. The genetic advance and heritability were also found higher for around all studied traits of L6103 under all treatments. It was suggested that the genotype L6103 may be used to increase the grain yield and fodder of Zea mays under drought as well as salt (NaCl) stress as compared to L5971 and P1429.