Indian Journal of Agricultural Research

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Indian Journal of Agricultural Research, volume 56 issue 3 (june 2022) : 276-282

Effect of Organic Amendments on the Water Stress Resistance of Corn Varieties during Vegetative Stage in Ultisols

B. Bukhari1, Sabaruddin Zakaria1,2, S. Sufardi1,3, S. Syafruddin1,2
1Doctoral Program in Agricultural Science, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, 23111, Indonesia.
2Department of Agrotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, 23111, Indonesia.
3Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, 23111, Indonesia-.
Cite article:- Bukhari B., Zakaria Sabaruddin, Sufardi S., Syafruddin S. (2022). Effect of Organic Amendments on the Water Stress Resistance of Corn Varieties during Vegetative Stage in Ultisols . Indian Journal of Agricultural Research. 56(3): 276-282. doi: 10.18805/IJARe.AF-711.
Background: Water stress is one of the most crucial limiting factors in maize production on Ultisols. One solution that could be adopted to solve this problem is applying organic soil amendment.

Methods: This study evaluated three varieties of corn: NK-Jumbo, Srikandi Kuning and Lamuru. The water stress treatment consists of 75% field capacity (without water stress) and 37.5% field capacity (water stress treatment). The organic amendment consists of without soil amendment, rice-straw 10 tons ha-1, biochar 10 tons ha-1 and rice straw 5 tons ha-1 + biochar 5 tons ha-1. A factorial, completely randomized design was used in this research.

Result: Water stress and organic amendments affect total stomata, leaf curl, leaf area, proline content, shoot and root dry weight, shoot-root ratio and biomass production of corn. Applying organic amendments increases corn’s resistance to water stress, indicated by decreased plant proline content and increased biomass. The proline content of corn by application of organic amendment with rice straw 5 tons ha-1 + biochar 5 tons ha-1 (70.41 µ mol/g) was lower than the proline content of treatment without amendments (93.69 µ mol/g). NK-Jumbo was the most resistant variety to water stress conditions.
In Indonesia, corn is generally produced from dryland regions with soils of Ultisols, Inceptisols, Oxisols andisols, Alfisols and Entisols. One of the soil orders targeted for maize development is Ultisols because this soil reaches 25% of the total land area in Indonesia. This soil is present in the tropical zone and characterized by low fertility (Xu et al., 2018). Moisture stress is a significant problem in this soil.
       
Water stress causes plant physiological changes such as reduction in photosynthesis and transpiration, change the physiological characteristics of plant leaves, such as leaf photosynthesis and transpiration rate (Hussain et al., 2018) and also cause the reduction of the weight of fresh and dried plants (Huang et al., 2010). Planting corn on this soil resulted in a decrease in corn yields if water stress occurred during the generative stage (Mi et al., 2018). This problem can be overcome by applying organic amendment in this soil type. The organic amendment significantly affects soil quality improvement, primarily when used with an organic fertilizer (Chuan-Chuan et al., 2017).
       
Applying organic amendment can promote decom position in the mineralization process in Ultisol and increase the activity of soil micro-organisms (Xu et al., 2020; Elayaraja and Sathiyamurthi, 2020). Biochar, manure as well charcoal and compost are organic amendments that can improve soil quality and crop production (Hussain et al., 2017; Triatmoko et al., 2020; Nasar et al., 2019), which plays a role in absorbing and neutralizing harmful contaminants in the soil (Yuan et al., 2019). All types of biochar can improve groundwater availability, including clay (Günal et al., 2018). At present, a lack of information has been found regarding the use of organic amendments to the resistance of corn plants to water stress, especially on ultisols. Here, this study was carried out to examine the effect of organic amendment on physiological parameters and biomass of corn under water stress. The study evaluated these treatments’ single and interactive effect on corn physiological parameters and biomass production during the vegetative stage. This study has tested three main hypotheses: 1) Among the varieties showed different physiological parameters and biomass production, 2) Water stress affects physiological and biomass production of corn and 3) Organic amendment could increase the resistance of water stress in Ultisols.
Site location, source of Ultisol and genetic materials
 
The ultisols soil was taken from Aceh Besar District, Janthoe sub-district with 0.5o17'5.2"N and 95o35'12"E coordinates. The research was carried out in the greenhouse of the Agriculture Faculty, Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, from June to December 2019. The seeds of three corn varieties consisting of NK-Jumbo, Srikandi Kuning and Lamuru obtained from Maros Corn Research Institute, South Sulawesi, were used in this research.
 
Water stress treatment procedure and organic amendment
 
Water stress treatment refers to the procedure (Xue et al., 2012) by weighing and recording the weight of the pot containing air dry ultisol soil before planting the corn seed. The pots were filled with water until saturated and then the pots were weighed, re-recorded and drained for 48 hours. Weight gain was the weight of water used as a benchmark for field capacity conditions; the amount of water that increased was 1.96 liters. So that the water needed for control treatment was 0.75×1.96=1.47 liters and the amount of water needed for water stress treatment was 0.375×1.96=0.73 liters. Organic amendments used in this research were rice straw and biochar.
 
Experimental design 
 
The research was conducted using a 3×2×4 factorial design with varieties as first factors consisting of NK-Jumbo, Srikandi Kuning and Lamuru. Water stress is the second factor without water stress (75% of field capacity) and water stress with 37.5% of field capacity. The third factor to be analyzed was the organic amendment consisting of without soil amendment, rice-straw 10 tons ha-1, biochar 10 tons ha-1, rice straw 5 tons ha-1+biochar 5 tons ha-1. The total combination of treatments was 24 with three replications, so there were 72 pots to implement this research. The pot with 30 cm in diameter and height of 40 cm was then applied organic amendments based on the treatments. Each pot was filled only with 15 kg wind dry ultisol without organic amendment treatment. For the treatment of 10 tons of rice straw and 10 tons of biochar ha-1, each pot was filled with wind dry ultisol 14,925 kg with 0.075 kg rice straw and 0.075 kg biochar. Whereas for the treatment with 5 tons of rice straw+5 tons of biochar ha-1, each pot was filled with ultisol 14,925+0.0375 kg rice straw+0.0375 kg biochar.
       
Each pot was planted with five seeds with a distance of 7.5 cm spacing and only two corns seedlings were maintained to grow in each pot at eight days after planting. Fertilizer was applied with 20 g NPK per pot at planting time and pests were controlled mechanically. On the tenth day after planting, the water stress treatment was carried out and soil moisture was controlled with an electronic balance every two days. The study lasted 40 days after planting.
 
Agro-physiological character analysis 
 
The analysis for agro-physiological characters consisted of total stomata, leaf area, leaf curls and proline content. Total stomata were measured from the base, middle and tip sections on leaves of maize. Three slides were prepared for each taxon. The total of stomata (mm2) was calculated on ten representative fields of leaves according to the method described by (Orsini et al., 2012). Leaf width was measured by foto-electric (leaf area meter LI-3000A). The number of leaf curls was observed manually at 35 days after planting at 12:00-14:00 a clock.
       
In contrast, proline content was observed in leaves according to the method described by (Bates et al., 1973). Proline of approximately 0.5 g of fresh leaves was extracted with 10 ml 3% sulfosalicylic acid and then it was filtrated using Whatman paper. About 2 ml of filtrate was reacted with 2 ml of acid ninhydrin and 2 ml of glacial acetic acid in a test tube for 1 hour at 100oC and the reaction was abolished in an ice bath. Samples with known proline amounts were assayed in parallel to obtain a standard curve. The absorbance of the supernatants was read at 520 nm using toluene as a blank. Proline concentration was finally expressed as µmol g-1 dry weight.
 
Biomass production analysis.
 
Biomass production variables consist of shoot dry weight, root dry weight, shoot-root ratio and total biomass. The shoot dry weight is the part corn plant above the soil surface from the root neck; the root dry weight is the bottom of the corn plant in carefully disassembled pots. The shoot and root dried at a temperature of 70oC until the weight was constant and the weight determined the shoot-root ratio in each treatment. In contrast, total biomass is total shoots and roots dry weight, which are weighed after being dried at a temperature of 70oC.
 
Procedure for data analysis
 
Data were analyzed by three-way ANOVA using SPSS 21.0 (SPSS Inc) and the significant difference was followed by the LSD (Least significant difference) test.
Agro-physiological character analysis
 
The effect of water stress and organic amendment on the agro-physiological character of corn varieties is shown in Table 1. The table showed significant differences in total stomata, leaf area and proline content among the varieties of corn. NK Jumbo showed the highest total stomata, leaf area and proline content, whereas Lamuru had the lowest total stomata, leaf area and proline content. The total stomata of Srikandi Kuning and Lamuru were 4.13 and 4.36%, respectively, more diminutive than the total stomata NK-Jumbo.
 

Table 1: Effect of water stress and organic amendment on agro-physiological characters of three maize varieties at vegetative stage.

 
       
The table also showed that water stress caused a significant increase in the number of leaf curl and a decrease in leaf area compared to control. The leaf curl and leaf area by water stress treatment were 2.67 and 398.13 cm2/stem, respectively. Without water stress treatment, leaf curl and leaf area were 2.44 and 398.13 cm2/stem, respectively.
       
Table 1 also showed that organic amendment caused significant differences in total stomata, leaf curl, leaf area and proline content. Application of rice straw 5 tons ha-1 + biochar 5 tons ha-1 as soil amendment caused the increase in total stomata and leaf area to 10.51% and 7.70%, respectively, compared without soil amendment. Application of rice straw 5 ton ha-1+biochar 5 ton ha-1 as soil amendment also caused the decrease in the number of leaf curl and proline content to 39.38% and 33.06%, respectively. In comparison, proline content was significantly increased by water stress condition to be 85.15 µmol.g-1 plant tissue compared to control with only 78.72 µmol.g-1 plant tissue. Proline is one of the secondary metabolites produced by corn under stress (Fukami et al., 2018). Drought stress increased proline content and carbohydrate solution in the leaves (Al-Yasi et al., 2020).
       
The proline content in the varieties of NK-Jumbo was higher compared to Lamuru. By applying organic amendment, the proline content decreases substantially compared to without soil amendment. On the other hand, the proline content decreased when organic amendment soil was added to the soil. It is though that soil amendment with rice straw 5 ton ha-1 + Biochar 5 ton ha-1 was able to avoid water shortages.
 
Biomass production
 
The effect of water stress and organic amendment on the biomass production of corn is shown in Table 2. The table shows that the varieties of corn did not show significant differences in biomass production. The table also shows that water stress treatment caused a significant effect on root dry weight and shoot-root ratio. Water stress caused the increasing root dry weight and shoot root ratio to 5.22% and 5.94%, respectively.
 

Table 2: Effect of water stress and organic amendment on biomass production characters of three maize varieties at the vegetative stage.


       
Table 2 also showed that organic amendment had a significant effect on all biomass production variables. Application of organic amendment with rice straw 5 tons ha-1 +Biochar 5 tons ha-1 caused significantly higher shoot dry weight, shoot root ratio and total biomass than other amendment treatments. Shoot dry weight, root dry weight, shoot root ratio and total biomass increase for about 33.88%, 18.32%, 12.09%, 28.40%, respectively, compared without organic amendment.
       
The decreasing of water stress impact and increasing biomass production by organic amendments is thought to be related to improving soil properties by this treatment. Biochar application significantly ameliorated soil physical properties such as bulk density, total porosity, water retention and penetration resistance. Moreover, biochar or organic material could increase soil water availability (Saffari et al., 2021) (Sachan et al., 2020). Applying biochar as soil amendment enhanced carbon assimilation in soybean, resulting in increased biomass accumulation and yield (Zhu et al., 2019).
 
Effect interaction between a variety of corn and water stress treatment
 
Drought affects more or less at every growth stage, causing a reduction of plant growth, yield components and yield (Moonmoon and Islam, 2017). Effect the interaction between variety and water stress treatment is shown in Table 3. The table showed that water stress caused a decrease in leaf area for about 1.2-6.5% and increased proline content for about 3.9-10.9% in all the varieties. Moreover, water stress also caused a significant decrease in dry shoot weight in Lamuru from 165, 8 to 154,95 g. stem-1. In NK Jumbo and Srikandi Kuning, water stress did not significantly impact the shoot dry weight and total biomass.
 

Table 3: Effect of water stress on agro-physiological characters of three corn varieties at vegetative stage.


 
Effect interaction between varieties of corn and organic amendment
 
Effect the interaction between varieties and the organic amendment is shown in Table 4. The table showed that organic amendment with rice straw 5 tons ha-1+Biochar 5 tons ha-1 caused a significant increase in leaf area, proline content, shoot dry weight, root dry weight, shoot root ratio and total biomass compared to other organic amendments. Leaf area, shoot dry weight, root dry weight, shoot-root ratio and total biomass increase for about 3.49-11.58%, 25.12-25.18%, 12.24-18.34%, 8.16-12.81% and 20.93-23.98%, respectively compare without organic amendment. Moreover, organic amendment with rice straw 5 tons ha-1 + Biochar 5 tons ha-1 caused decreasing of proline content in NK Jumbo (31.23%), Srikandi Kuning (18.62%) and Laura (24.10%) compared to without soil amendment.
       

Table 4: Effect of organic amendment on agro-physiological and biomass character of three corn varieties at vegetative stage.


 
Biochar as soil amendments significantly improved photosynthetic characteristics in maize (Wang et al., 2021). The increasing of leaf area, shoot dry weight, root dry weight, shoot-root ratio and total biomass and the decreasing of proline content by organic amendment with rice straw 5 tons ha-1+Biochar 5 tons ha-1 in all varieties of corn indicate the superiority of this organic amendment. In contrast, the decreasing proline accumulation by organic amendment is caused by lower activities of-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase. The study suggests that proline accumulation in maize leaves under water stress can be explained by the higher enhanced activities of-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase and higher inhibition of proline dehydrogenase (Zhang et al., 2017).
 
Effect interaction between water stress and organic amendment treatment
 
Effect the interaction between water stress and organic treatment is shown in Table 5. The table showed that organic amendment caused the increase in leaf area, shoot dry weight, shoot-root ratio and total biomass. However, this treatment caused a reduction in proline content. The decrease in proline content occurred both under stress and non-stress treatment. Organic amendment with rice-straw 5 tons ha-1+Biochar 5 tons ha-1 caused the increase in leaf area, shoot dry weight, shoot root ratio and total biomass for about 9.39%, 38.76%, 17,87%, 32.55%, respectively, under control condition. Whereas in water stress conditions, organic amendment with rice-straw 5 tons ha-1+Biochar 5 tons ha-1 caused the increase in leaf area, shoot dry weight, shoot root ratio and total biomass for about 5.98%, 30.21%, 6.25%, 24.26%, respectively compared to without organic amendment. Moreover, organic amendment with rice-straw 5 tons ha-1+ Biochar 5 tons ha-1 caused the decrease in proline content to 27.30% and 22.70% in water stress and non-stress condition, respectively, compared without organic amendment. The organic amendment can reduce stress; this is evident through the decrease in proline content and an increase of all variables compared to other organic amendments in the three varieties of corn with decreasing proline content. 
 

Table 5: Effect interaction between water stress and organic amendment on agro-physiological and biomass production in three varieties of corn at the vegetative stage.

The varieties of corn showed different adaptations to water stress conditions. Water stress significantly affects the agro-physiological character and biomass of this plant. Moreover, application of rice-straw 5 tons ha-1+Biochar 5 tons ha-1 as organic amendment significantly increased in total stomata, leaf area, shoot and root dry weight,  shoot-root ratio and total biomass and caused the decrease in proline content to 70.41 µmol.g-1 plant tissue compared without organic amendment (93.69 µmol.g-1 plant tissue). NK-Jumbo was the most tolerant variety to water stress conditions and had a proline content of 90.2 µmol/g plant tissue by water stress condition.
None.

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