Impact of combined stress of high temperature and water deficit on growth and seed yield of soybean
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Elevated temperature and water deficit are the major abiotic factors restricting plant growth. While in nature these two stresses often occur at the same time; little is known about their combined effect on plants. Therefore, the main objective of the current study was to observe the effect of these two stresses on phenology, dry matter and seed yield in soybean. Two soybean genotypes JS 97-52 and EC 538828 were grown under green-house conditions which were maintained at different day/night temperatures of 30/22, 34/24, 38/26 and 42/28 °C with an average temperature of 26, 29, 32 and 35 °C, respectively. At each temperature, pots were divided into three sets, one set was unstressed while second and third set were subjected to water stress at vegetative and reproductive stage, respectively. As compared to 30/22 °C increase in temperature to 34/24 °C caused a marginal decline in leaf area, seed weight, total biomass, pods/pl, seeds/pl, harvest index, seeds/pod and 100 seed weight. The decline was of higher magnitude at 38/26 and 42/28 °C. Water stress imposed at two growth stages also significantly affected dry matter and yield. The highest average seed yield (10.9 g/pl) was observed at 30/22 °C, which was significantly reduced by 19, 42 and 64% at 34/24, 38/24 and 42/28 °C, respectively. Similarly, compared to unstressed plants (11.3 g/pl) there was 28 and 74% reduction in yield in plants stressed at vegetative and reproductive stage. Thus, both temperature and water stress affected the growth and yield but the effect was more severe when water stress was imposed at higher temperatures. JS 97-52 was more affected by temperature and water stress as compared to EC 538828. Though drought is the only abiotic factor that is known to affect the water status of plants, but the severity of the effect is highly dependent on prevailing temperature.
KeywordsClimate change High temperature stress Soybean Water stress Yield
Kanchan Jumrani would like to acknowledge the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)/University Grants Commission (UGC) (Grant No. 20-06/2010 (i) EU-IV), Government of India for providing the financial support in the form of research fellowship.
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