Impact of drought on assimilates partitioning associated fruiting physiognomies and yield quality attributes of desert grown cotton

  • Muhammad Shareef
  • Dongwei Gui
  • Fanjiang Zeng
  • Zeeshan Ahmed
  • Muhammad Waqas
  • Bo Zhang
  • Hassan Iqbal
  • Muhammad Fiaz
Original Article


Deficit irrigation has great significance for sustainable cultivation of cotton in water scarce arid regions, but this technique creates drought situation that induces stress adaptive changes in cotton plants due to indeterminate growth habit. In the present experiment, the impact of drought stress on assimilates partitioning associated vegetative and reproductive development, and yield quality attributes of cotton were examined under desert conditions. Four levels of drip irrigation including 100, 80, 60, and 40% replenishment of depleted water from field capacity were applied to develop drought stress regimes during two growing seasons (2015 and 2016). Results revealed that under limited water supplies, plant’s preference for allocation of photo-assimilates was roots > leaves > fruits that substantially increased root–shoot ratio and hampered reproductive growth. Consequently, boll density (m−2), fresh boll weight and lint yield (kg ha−1) were significantly reduced. An obvious change in partitioning of assimilates inside stressed bolls was observed that indicated relatively more accumulation in seeds than fiber, thus reducing the fiber quality. In addition, decreased starch, oil, and protein contents in seeds of stressed plants markedly reduced 100 seeds weight and also the vigor. Later, seed quality confirmatory tests of subsequent years (2016 and 2017) showed significant reduction in emergence counts (m−2) and seedling biomasses of seeds harvested from deficit drip irrigated cotton. These results suggest that deficit irrigation could necessarily be an appropriate yield optimization and water saving technique for cotton in desert environment but, for the best quality fiber and cottonseeds, full irrigation should be preferred.


Photosynthesis Sugars and starch Assimilates distribution Root–shoot ratio Cottonseed oil and protein Emergence count 



The authors delightedly acknowledge CAS-TWAS President’s Fellowship Program for Ph.D., the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1603343 and 41471031), and the China 1000 Talent Program (Y672071) for sponsoring this research.


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Shareef
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Dongwei Gui
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Fanjiang Zeng
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Zeeshan Ahmed
    • 5
  • Muhammad Waqas
    • 1
    • 3
  • Bo Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Hassan Iqbal
    • 1
    • 3
  • Muhammad Fiaz
    • 6
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Cele National Station of Observation & Research for Desert Grassland Ecosystem in XinjiangCeleChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of ScienceBeijingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  5. 5.The Islamia University of BahawalpurBahawalpurPakistan
  6. 6.Universidade Federal De ViçosaViçosaBrazil

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