pp 1–15 | Cite as

Foliar application of glycinebetaine regulates soluble sugars and modulates physiological adaptations in sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) under water deficit

  • Rujira Tisarum
  • Cattarin Theerawitaya
  • Thapanee Samphumphuang
  • Harminder Pal Singh
  • Suriyan Cha-umEmail author
Original Article


Drought tolerance in higher plants can result in enhanced productivity, especially in case of carbohydrate storage root crop. Sweet potato has been reported as a drought-tolerant crop, while it is very sensitive to water shortage in the root initiation of cutting propagation and tuber initiation stages. In the present study, we aimed to alleviate the drought-tolerant abilities in sweet potato cv. Tainung 57 (drought-sensitive cultivar) using foliar glycine betaine (GlyBet) application as compared with drought-tolerant cultivar (cv. Japanese Yellow). Leaf osmotic potential in GlyBet applied plants under mild- (25.5% soil water content; SWC) and severe-water deficit (15.5% SWC) stresses was maintained through the accumulation of total soluble sugars as a major osmotic adjustment, thus stabilizing the photosynthetic pigments, chlorophyll fluorescence, net photosynthetic rate, and retaining the overall growth performances, i.e., shoot height, number, and length of leaves. In the harvesting process, storage root weight in water deficit stressed sweet potato cv. Tainung 57 (11.75 g plant−1) with 50 mM GlyBet application was retained in a similar pattern to cv. Japanese Yellow (12.25 g plant−1). In the present investigation, exogenous foliar GlyBet application strongly alleviated water deficit stress via sugar enrichment to control cellular osmotic potential, retain high photosynthetic abilities and maintain the yield of storage root yield. In summary, the regulation on total soluble sugar enrichment in water deficit–stressed sweet potato using GlyBet foliar application may play an important role in maintaining the controlled osmotic potential of leaves, thereby retaining the photosynthetic abilities, overall growth characters and increasing the yield of storage roots.


Leaf osmotic potential Osmotic adjustment Photosynthetic abilities Total soluble sugar Storage root yield Water deficit stress 



Dry weight




Fresh weight


Glycine betaine


Japanese Yellow


Mild water deficit


Severe water deficit


Soil water content


Tainung 57


Funding information

The authors would like to sincerely thank National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Thailand, for funding support.

Supplementary material

709_2019_1429_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (1.8 mb)
ESM 1 (PPTX 1841 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC)National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA)Khlong LuangThailand
  2. 2.Department of Environment Studies, Faculty of SciencePanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia

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