Paper Details


Salt tolerance in maize with melatonin priming to achieve sustainability in yield on salt affected soils

Syed Saqlain Hussain, Muhammad Rasheed, Muhammad Hamzah Saleem, Zammurad Iqbal Ahmed, Aqsa Hafeez, Ghulam Jilani, Saad Alamri, Mohamed Hashem and Shafaqat Ali

Salt stress has a significant impact on agricultural output, affecting seed germination and seedling growth. The uncontrolled production of oxidative species (ROS) induces a range of biochemical, physiological, and metabolic changes, resulting in reduced crop yields. Under such circumstances, seed priming may be a feasible and practicable approach for achieving rapid, uniform emergence, vigorous seedlings, and higher crop yields. The present study was therefore executed to explore efficacious effects of various seed priming agents, such as hydro-priming (HP), CaCl2 @ 2% (CaP), and melatonin @ 1000 M (MP) to cope with salt stress in salt-affected fields. A non-priming control treatment (WP) was also included in the trial to allow for a fair comparison of the treatments. Three promising maize genotypes, SB-9617 (V1), YH-1898 (V2), and NCEV-1530-9, were investigated with these priming treatments (V3). The study results depicted that all seed priming methods significantly attenuated the adverse effects of salt stress. However, seed priming with melatonin (MP), on the other hand, improved development and adaptability in maize seedlings under salt stress conditions. In our findings, melatonin priming (MP) significantly produced the higher total soluble sugar (34.6%), total phenolics contents (61.1%), proline contents (45.1 %), and total soluble protein contents (34.8 %), combined with enhanced antioxidant enzyme activity viz., SOD (32.5%), POD (18.2%) and  CAT (17.1%) than un-primed (WP). The improved organic osmolytes coupled with activated enzymatic defense system in melatonin priming (MP) caused a significant reduction of malondialdehyde (MDA) levels (35.1%), H2O2 concentration (31.3%) and electrolyte leakage (16.9%) via improving the ROS scavenging activity (15.6%), membrane stability (22.7%) and relative water contents (29.3%) relative to un-primed treatment (WP). The melatonin primed plants also exhibited the highest crop growth and leaf area indices without causing substantial damage to the chlorophyll contents, resulting in increased radiation interception (PAR) and its usage efficiency with improved yield. Interestingly, SB- 9617 (V2) was proved the outperforming maize genotype in maintaining better crop growth and yield with improved physiological and biochemical characters under salt-affected field conditions. The current findings may serve as a chunk of scientific information for the researchers to disclose further the unexplored aspects of salt tolerance mechanism in maize crop to achieve sustainability in crop yield in salt-affected soils

To Cite this article: Hussain, S.Q., M. Rasheed, M.H. Saleem, Z.I. Ahmed, A. Hafeez, G. Jilani, S. Alamri, M. Hashem and S. Ali. 2023.  Salt tolerance in maize with melatonin priming to achieve sustainability in yield on salt affected soils. Pak. J. Bot., 55(1): DOI:  

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