Drought and Salinity Impacts on Bread Wheat in a Hydroponic Culture: A Physiological Comparison

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor of Agronomy, Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture, Yasouj University, Yasouj, Iran

2 PhD Student of Crop Physiology, Faculty of Agriculture, Yasouj University, Yasouj, Iran


Drought and salinity are two major abiotic stresses, similarly and/or differently affecting physiological processes of wheat. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the impacts of drought and salinity on wheat. A pot experiment was conducted as completely randomized design with three replications in the research greenhouse of Yasouj University in 2015. Treatments included different levels of salinity and drought with the same osmotic potentials (-2.47, -4.94 and -7.42 bar) and a control. Salinity and drought were imposed with NaCl and PEG 6000 in a Hogland medium, respectively. Results showed that by increasing drought and salinity treatments, relative water cotent and cell membrane stability were decreased but malondialdehyde (MDA) increased. The effect of PEG drought stress on these traits was more than that of NaCl stress. Increasing drought and salinity stresses significantly increased leaf proline, total soluble sugars, and glycinebetaine content, however, this increase was higher for salinity. Fv/Fm was equally affected by salinity and drought, decreasing by both stresses. By raising stress levels, chlorophyll a decreased but chlorophyll b and carotenoid content increased. In general, we found that wheat could tolerate acceptable salinity levels better than drought, by accumulation of osmolytes and more sustained absorption of water and also reducing the MDA production under salinity conditions. 


Anjum F, Yaseen M, Rasul E, Wahid A and Anjum S. 2003. Water stress in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). II. Effect on chemical composition and chlorophyll contents. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Science 40: 45-49.
Arnon DI, 1949. Copper enzymes in isolated chloroplasts. Polyphenoloxidase in Beta vulgaris. Plant Physiology 24 (1): 1-15.
Ashraf M and Harris PJC, 2013. Photosynthesis under stressful environments: an overview. Photosynthetica 51 (2): 163-190.
Blum A and Ebercon A, 1981. Cell membrane stability as a measure of drought and heat tolerance in wheat. Crop Science 21: 43-47.
Colom MR and Vazzana C, 2003. Photosynthesis and PSII functionality of drought-resistant and drought-sensitive weeping lovegrass plants. Environmental and Experimental Botany 49 (2): 135-144.
Curtis T and Halford NG, 2014. Food security: the challenge of increasing wheat yield and the importance of not compromising food safety. Annals of Applied Biology 164 (3): 354–372.
Eshghizadeh HR, Kafi M, Nezami A and Khoshgoftar M, 2014. The effect of salinity on water status, proline, total soluble sugars and antioxidant activity of Panicum antidotale Retz. Journal of Science and Technology of Greenhouse 5 (18): 35-11.
Ferreira MI and Lourens AF, 2002. The efficacy of liquid seaweed extract on the yield of canola plants. South African Journal of Plant and Soil 19 (3): 159-161.
Fukutoku Y and Yamada Y, 1981. Diurnal changes in water potential and free amino acid contents of water-stressed and non-stressed soybean plants. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 27 (2): 195-204.
Geholt HS, Purohit A and Shekhawat NS, 2005. Metabolic changes and protein patterns associated with adaptation to salinity in Sesamum indicum cultivars. Journal of Cell and Molecular Biology 4: 31-39.
Ghobanali M, Nojavan M, Heidari R and Farbodnia T, 2001. Soluble sugars, starch and proteins changes due to drought stress in Iranian chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Quarterly Journal of Science (Kharazmi University) 1: 38-53 (In Persian with English abstract).
Grattan SR and Grieve CM, 1992. Mineral element acquisition and growth response of plants grown in saline environments. Agriculture, Ecosystemsand Environment 38 (4): 275-300.
Hanson AD, May AM, Grumet R, Bode J, Jamieson GC and Rhodes D, 2007. Betaine synthesis in chenopods: localization in chloroplasts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 82: 3678-368.
Heath RL and Packer L, 1968. Photoperoxidation in isolated chloroplast, I. Kinetics and stoichiometry of fatty acid peroxidation. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 125 (1): 189-198.
Hoagland DR and Arnon DI, 1950. The water-culture method for growing plants without soil. Circularof California Agricultural Experiment Station. 347. Second edition.
Irigoyen JJ, Einerich DW and Sánchez‐Díaz M, 1992. Water stress induced changes in concentrations of proline and total soluble sugars in nodulated alfalfa (Medicago sativa) plants. Physiologia Plantarum 84 (1): 55-60.
Jiang Y and Hung B, 2001. Drought and heat stress injury to two cool-season turf grasses in relation to antioxidant metabolism lipid peroxidaion. Crop Science 41: 436-442.
Kameli A and Losel DM, 1996. Growth and sugar accumulation in durum wheat plants under water stress. New Phytology 132: 57-62.
Kao CH, 1981. Senescence of rice leaves. VI. Comparative study of the metabolic changes of senescing turgid and water–stressed excised leaves. Plant and Cell Physiology 22: 683–685.
Kaya C, Higges D and Kirnak H, 2001. The effects of high salinity (NaCl) and supplementary phosphorus and potassium on physiology and nutrition development of spinach. Journal of Plant Physiology 27 (3-4): 47-59.
Khan MA, Ungar IA and Showalters AM, 2000. The effect of salinity on the growth, water status and ion content of a leaf succulent perennial halophyte, Suaeda fruticosa (L.). Forssk. Journal of Arid Environment 45: 73-84.
Levitt J, 1980. Response of plants to environmental stresses. Vol 1. Chilling, Freezing and High temperature Stresses. Academic Press, New York.
Li G, Wan Sh, Zhou J, Yang Z and Qin P, 2010. Leaf chlorophyll fluorescence, hyperspectral reflectance, pigments content, malondialdehyde and proline accumulation responses of Castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) seedlings to salt stress levels. Industrial Crops and Products 31: 13-19.
Lichtenthaler HK, 1987. Chlorophylls and carotenoids: pigments of photosynthetic biomembranes. Methods in Enzymology 148: 350-382.
Lim JH, Park JK, Kim BK, Jeong JW and Kim HJ, 2012. Effect of salinity stress on phenolic compounds and carotenoids in buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum M.) sprout. Food Chemistry 135: 1065-1070.
Masoumi A, Kafi M, Khazaei HR and Davari K, 2010. Effect of drought stress on water status, electrolyte leakage and enzymatic antioxidants of Kochia (Kochia scoparia) under saline conditions. Pakistan Journal of Botany 42 (5): 3517-3524.
Michel BE and Kaufmann MR 1973. The osmotic potential of polyethylene glycol 6000. Plant Physiology 51: 914-916.
Munns R, 2002. Comparative physiology of salt and water stress. Plant, Cell and Environment 25: 239-250.
Munns R and James RA, 2003. Screening methods for salinity tolerance: a case study with tetraploid wheat. Plant and Soil 253: 201-218.
NasirKhan M, Siddiqui MH, Mohammad F, Masroor M, Khan A and Naeem M, 2007. Salinity induced changes in growth, enzyme activities, photosynthesis, proline accumulation and yield in linseed genotypes. World Journal of Agriculture Science 3: 685-695.
Newton RJ, Bhaskaran S, Puryear J and Smith RH, 1986. Physiological changes in cultured sorghum cells in response to induced water-stress. II. Soluble carbohydrates and organic acids. Plant Physiology 81: 626-629.
Okcu G, Kaya MD and Atak M, 2005. Effect of salt and drought stress on germination and seedling growth of pea (Pisum sativum). Turkish Journal of Agriculture 29: 137-243.
Orcutt DM and Nilsen ET, 2000. The Physiology of Plants Under Stress: Soil and Biotic Factors. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.
Paquine R and Lechasseur P, 1979. Observations sur one method dosage la libra dans les de planets. Canadian Journal of Botany 57: 1851-1854.
Pervize Z, Afzal M, Xi S, Xiaoe Y and Ancheng L, 2002. Physiological parameters of salt tolerance in wheat. Asian Journal of Plant Science 1: 78-481.
Prado FE, Boero C, Gallardo M and Gonzale JA, 2000. Effect of NaCl on germination, growth and soluble sugar content in Chenopodium quinoa wild seeds. Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica 41: 27–34.
Qasim M, Ashraf MM, Jamil AM, Rehman YSU and Rha ES, 2003. Water relations and gas exchange properties in some elite canola (Brassica napus L.) lines under salt stress. Annals of Applied Biology 142: 307-316.
Rahdari P, Tavakoli S and Hosseini SM, 2012. Studying of salinity stress effect on germination, proline, sugar, protein, lipid and chlorophyll content in Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) leaves.  Journal of Stress Physiology and Biochemistry 8 (1): 182-193.
Rezvani Moghaddam P, Karimpour H and Seyedi SM, 2015. Evaluation of yield and yield components of two wheat cultivars in different row cropping patterns. Iranian Journal of Field Crops Research 13(2): 232-238 (In Persian with English abstract).
Rhoads DM and McIntosh L, 1991. Isolation and characterization of a cDNA clone encoding an alternative oxides protein of Sauromatum guttatum (Schott). Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA 88: 2122-2126.
Sairam RK and Saxena DC, 2000. Oxidative stress and antioxidants in wheat genotypes: possible mechanism of water stress tolerance. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 184: 55-61.
Sannada Y, Ueda H, Kuribayashi K, Andoh T, Hayashi F, Tamai N and Wada K, 1995. Novel light-dark change of proline levels in halophyte (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.) and glycophytes (Hordeum vulaare L. and Triticum aestivum L.) leaves and roots under salt stress. Plant Cell Physiology 36 (6): 965-970.
Schobert B, 1977. Is there an osmotic regulatory mechanism in algae and higher plants? Journal of Theoretical Biology 68 (1): 17-26.
Schonfeld MA, Johnson RC, Carver BF and Mornhinweg DW 1988. Water relations in winter wheat as drought resistance indicators. Crop Science 28: 526-531.
Schutz M and Fangmeir E, 2001. Growth and yield responses of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv Minaret) to elevated CO2 and water limitation. Environmental Pollution 114: 187-194.
Taiz L and Zeiger E, 1991. Plant Physiology. The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc.  565 pages.
Weatherley PE, 1950. Studies in the water relations of the cotton plant. I. The field measurement of water deficits in leaves. New Physiology 49: 81-77.
Wise RR and Naylor AW, 1989. Chilling-enhanced photo-oxidation, the peoxidative destruction of lipids during chilling injury to photosynthesis and ultrastructure. Plant Physiology 83:  278-282.
Yu J, Sun L, Fan N, Yung Z and Huang B, 2015. Physiological factors involved in positive effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentration on Bermuda grass tolerance to salinity stress. Environmental and Experimental Botany 115: 20–27.
Zhao GQ, Ma BL and Ren CZ, 2007. Growth, gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence and ion content of naked oat in response to salinity. Crop Science 47: 123-131.