IMPACT OF SILICON ON VARIOUS AGRO-MORPHOLOGICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL PARAMETERS IN MAIZE AND REVEALING ITS ROLE IN ENHANCING WATER STRESS TOLERANCE
Keywords:Silicon, Maize, Drought, Abiotic stress tolerance
Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element in earth's crust and is considered as beneficial element for providing tolerance against various biotic and abiotic stresses. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of silicon in water stress tolerance in maize as depicted through agro- morphological/ physiological parameters. We evaluated 15 diverse maize genotypes/ inbred lines under rain-fed conditions with, as well as without, Si application. Significant differences were observed in various agro-morphological and physiological parameters under Si+ and Si- conditions. The number of kernel per ear was significantly higher in Si+ conditions. The various physiological parameters observed include; anthesis- silking interval, relative water content, stomatal density and canopy temperature. All these parameters indicated the positive impact of Si on water stress tolerance in case of maize genotypes under study. These results specified that Si plays an important role in giving tolerance against drought/ water stress. The study can be further extended to investigate the molecular mechanism involved in Si induced water stress tolerance in maize.