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Genetic variability for salt tolerance in maize seedlings

Author(s): Tanzeel-ur-Rehman, Qurban Ali and Arif Malik

Maize is very sensitive for abiotic environmental stress conditions involving drought, heat and salt stress as important stress conditions. For this purpose a study was planned to conduct in greenhouse of Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of the Lahore to determine effects of salt stress on maize seedling growth. For our study we have selected four maize varieties viz., B-316, EV-1097Q, SH-2002 and FH-810. The seed of each variety were sown in triplicate pots with all irrigation requirements in equal manners. The results revealed that there were significant differences among the treatments of NaCl concentrations (0.2 mM, 0.4 mM, 0.6 mM, 0.8 mM and 1 mM) along with control and maize genotypes used for research evaluation and the interactions among the maize genotypes and salt concentrations applied. The average maize seedling length was recorded as 22.646 ± 1.2025 cm and length of roots was recorded as 22.609 ± 2.0135 cm. It was found that the performance of all of four maize genotypes was variable for all studied traits. The results showed that the genotype B-316 showed higher root and shoot length which indicated that B-316 was higher salt tolerant genotype and may be used as salt tolerant genotype to improve grain yield per plant in maize. The genotype EV-1097Q has shown poor performance for all of the studied traits which indicated that it was salt sensitive maize genotype. It was revealed from results that the performance of maize varieties/genotypes was highly affected under the treatment of higher salt concentration. The performance of maize genotypes under lower NaCl concentration was higher while intermediate for intermediate treatment of salt concentrations. The higher genetic advance was found for shoot length (45.254%) and root length (41.971%) while higher heritability as reported for leaf are (98.132%), roots per plant (94.351%) and root length (96.345%). The higher genetic advance and heritability for root length indicated that the selection of maize genotypes for salt stress may be helpful to improve yield under stress conditions. It was suggested from our study that the use of B-316 as salt tolerant genotype could be useful for improving yield of grain and production under the salt stress environment.