, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 557-564

Evaluation of Ethiopian chickpea landraces for tolerance to drought

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Abstract

Ethiopia is a secondary center of diversity for chickpea.It is possible that these germplasm lines have developed certain degrees ofadaptation to drought during many centuries of cultivation on residual soilmoisture. We, therefore, evaluated 482 genotypes of chickpea collected fromdifferent regions of Ethiopia for their tolerance to drought at Alem Tena, adrought-prone site. Differences were observed among genotypes in their reactionsto drought and 18 tolerant genotypes were identified based on drought responseindex (DRI). These were in the top 10% yielding genotypes under drought stress.The drought susceptible check ‘Mariye’ gave grain yields of only 348kg/ha. Two of the drought tolerant genotypes ‘ACC41235’ and ‘ACC 209025’ were further evaluated in pots alongwith ‘Mariye’ under stressed and nonstressed moisture regimes.Unlike ‘Mariye’ the two test genotypes had relatively smallerindividual leaf area, which was further reduced under low moisture stresstreatment. On the other hand, dry root weight, root volume and rooting depthdecreased significantly under low moisture stress only for‘Mariye’. It appears that reduced water loss from the plant andextensive extraction of soil moisture are factors involved in the adaptation ofEthiopian chickpeas to drought conditions. The combined effect of the twofactors enables the plant to maintain high water status.