Seed enhancement with cytokinins: changes in growth and grain yield in salt stressed wheat plants

Abstract

Cytokinins are often considered abscisic acid (ABA) antagonists and auxins antagonists/synergists in various processes in plants. Seed enhancement (seed priming) with cytokinins is reported to increase plant salt tolerance. It was hypothesized that cytokinins could increase salt tolerance in wheat plants by interacting with other plant hormones, especially auxins and ABA. The present studies were therefore conducted to assess the effects of pre-sowing seed treatment with varying concentrations (100, 150 and 200 mg l−1) of cytokinins (kinetin and benzylaminopurine (BAP)) on germination, growth, and concentrations of free endogenous auxins and ABA in two hexaploid spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars. The primed and non-primed seeds of MH-97 (salt-intolerant) and Inqlab-91 (salt-tolerant) were sown in both Petri dishes in a growth room and in the field after treatment with 15 dS m−1 NaCl salinity. Both experiments were repeated during 2002 and 2003. Among priming agents, kinetin was effective in increasing germination rate in the salt-intolerant and early seedling growth in the salt-tolerant cultivar when compared with hydropriming under salt stress. Thus, during germination and early seedling growth, the cytokinin-priming induced effects were cultivar specific. In contrast, kinetin-priming showed a consistent promoting effect in the field and improved growth and grain yield in both cultivars under salt stress. The BAP-priming did not alleviate the inhibitory effects of salinity stress on the germination and early seedling growth in both cultivars. The increase in growth and grain yield in both cultivars was positively correlated with leaf indoleacetic acid concentration and negatively with ABA concentration under both saline and non-saline conditions. The decrease in ABA concentration in the plants raised from kinetin-primed seeds might reflect diminishing influence of salt stress. However, the possibility of involvement of other hormonal interactions is discussed.

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Correspondence to Muhammad Iqbal.

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Iqbal, M., Ashraf, M. & Jamil, A. Seed enhancement with cytokinins: changes in growth and grain yield in salt stressed wheat plants. Plant Growth Regul 50, 29–39 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10725-006-9123-5

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Keywords

  • Hormonal balance
  • Kinetin
  • Salt tolerance
  • Seed priming
  • Plant hormones
  • Yield
  • Wheat