Legume Research

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Seed Osmo-priming in Chickpea Enhances Seed Quality and Crop Performance under Normal and Water Deficit Conditions

T.N. Tiwari1,*, P.K. Katiyar1
1ICAR- Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur-208 024, Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • Submitted06-11-2020|

  • Accepted08-04-2021|

  • First Online 30-04-2021|

  • doi 10.18805/LR-4544

Background: The average productivity of chickpea is quite low (939 kg/ha) because of several factors including its cultivation in rain fed/low moisture and marginal lands, low seed replacement rate (25.4%), use of old and low-quality seed by the majority of farmers. This in turn gives poor germination, delayed emergence and sick seedlings that lead to poor yield. Osmo priming of seed with different in-organic salts has been reported to improve the germination, speed of emergence, seedling vigour, growth and yield of different vegetable and field crops but information’s on response of seed priming with in-organic salts on enhancement of seed quality parameters and crop performance of naturally aged seeds of chickpea is lacking over a wide range of environmental conditions including normal and water deficit conditions.

Methods: An experiment was conducted under laboratory as well as in plastic pots with 05 seed osmo- priming level, two varieties of chickpea (Ujjawal and JG-14) and two moisture level (Normal at field capacity and water deficit at half of the field capacity) during rabi season 2017-18 and 2018-19.at the Research farm of ICAR- IIPR Kanpur (U.P.) to study the influence of seed osmo-priming with in- organic salts on seed quality parameters and crop performance under normal and water deficit conditions. The observations were recorded on seed quality, growth and crop efficiency parameters at their appropriate time.

Result: Osmo-priming of one-year-old chickpea seeds with KNO3, MgSO4, Ca(NO3)2 at 0.2% solution and tap water for 06 hours significantly enhanced the seed quality parameters in both the varieties evaluated under normal as well as under water deficit conditions over their respective control. Amongst, the priming agents used, KNO3 performed better than MgSO4, Ca(NO3)2 and tap water in respect of most of the seed quality parameters studied. Variety Ujjawal responded better the priming treatments than JG-14 under both normal and water deficit conditions. Osmo-priming treatments also showed the positive response in the enhancement of Nitrogen balance index (NBI), chlorophyll, Flavonols, Stomatal conductance, photosynthetic rate and transpiration rate in both the varieties evaluated under normal as well as water deficit condition.
Chickpea is one of the most important pulse crops cultivated in India occupying 88.25 lakh ha area and having 82.904 lakh tonnes production and 939 kg/ha productivity. The average productivity is quite low (939 kg/ha) because of several factors including its cultivation in rain fed/low moisture and marginal lands. Low Seed replacement rate (25.4%), use of old and low quality seed by the majority of farmers. This in turn gives poor germination, delayed emergence and sick seedlings that lead to poor yield.
               
In addition, age-induced seed deterioration of chickpea crops due to poor storage conditions is an inexorable phenomenon which gets in the way of successful chickpea production Seed priming is a powerful tool in which seed are soaked in water or an osmotic solution allows water imbibition’s and permits early stages of germination but does not permit radical protrusion through seed coat (Heydecker, 1973). Priming with different in-organic salts including KNO3 and MgNO3 and MgSO4 etc. has been reported to improve the germination, speed of emergence, seedling vigour, growth and yield of different vegetable and field crops viz, beet root, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, summer squash, tomato, water melon, hot pepper, tobacco, maize, mustard, okra ‘ground nut,  moong bean and pigeon pea by several workers Durran et al., (1983), Saxena and Singh (1987), Fujikera and Karseen (1992), Broklehurst and Dearman 1983, Mauromicale et al., (1994), Min Taigi (2001), Kundu and Basu (1981), Pandita et al., (2003). Misra and Sahoo (2003), Thakur and Thakur (2006). Dhedhi et al., (2006) and Tiwari et al., (2013, 2014 2018 and 2020). Considerable evidences exist that repair of proteins and enzymes occurs during imbibition of seeds (McDonalds, 2000). The information regarding the response of seed priming with in-organic salts on enhancement of seed quality parameters including germination, vigor, growth and crop efficiency of naturally aged seeds of chickpea is lacking over a wide range of environmental conditions including normal and water deficit conditions. In the light of above, to understand the response of seed priming with in-organic salts on seed quality parameters and crop performance under normal and water deficit conditions in chickpea, the present research wok was formulated.
Experiments were conducted under laboratory as well as in plastic pots of 10 kg capacity with 05 seed osmo- priming level, two varieties of chickpea (Ujjawal and JG-14) and two moisture level (Normal at field capacity and water deficit at half of the field capacity) under complete randomized design (CRD) with four replications during rabi season 2017-18 and 2018-19 at the Research farm of ICAR- IIPR main campus Kanpur to study the influence of seed osmo-prming with in- organic salts on seed quality parameters and crop performance under normal and water deficit conditions. Recommended doses of fertilizers (NPK) and cultural practices were applied and moisture level were maintained by regulating the quantity of irrigation water in allocated normal and water deficit pots. Observations were recorded on seed quality parameters as per ISTA procedure as described below.
 
Laboratory experiments (Seedling studies)
 
Total 1000 seeds were taken for each variety of Chickpea for germination using between of the paper method as described by ISTA procedures (Anonymous 1999). After sowing, the germination count was started just after one day and counted up to seventh day and the germination was recorded by counting total number of seeds germinated in each treatment and percent germination was expressed on normal seedling basis. Root length was measured from the collar region to the tip of the primary root and mean was calculated and expressed in centimeters similarly shoot length was measured from collar region to the base of uppermost leaf and mean was calculated and expressed in centimeters. The seedlings root +shoot length was expressed as seedling length and the same seedlings were used for estimating dry weight. Seedlings were dried in a hot air oven maintained at 70 ± 2oC for 24 h) and after drying, the weight of 10 dry seedlings was recorded and the mean seedling dry weight was calculated and expressed in milligrams. Vigour of the seeds was assessed based on germination percentage, seedling length and seedling dry weight as suggested by Abdul-Baki and Anderson (1973) and expressed in whole number.
 
Seedling Vigour index I = Germination (%) x Mean seedling length (cm)
Seedling Vigour index II = Germination (%) x Mean seedling dry weight (mg)
 
Growth parameters including leaf area, plant height were measured at the termination of vegetative phase. Crop efficiency parameters viz: Nitrogen balance index(NBI), chlorophyll and flavonols were measured using Dualex-Force A Leaf Clip Sensor(France), Photosynthetic rate, Stomatal conductance and transpiration rate were measured at pod formation stage using IRGA-Portable Photosynthesis measurement system. LICOR-6400(USA) in between 11.0 AM to 2.00 PM during clear sky. Data collected were statistically analyzed using SAS soft ware.
 
Osmo-priming of one-year-old chickpea seeds with KNO3, MgSO4, Ca(NO3)2 at 0.2 % solution and tap water for 06 hours separately significantly enhanced the germination (%), seedling length, seedling dry weight, and vigour index I&II in both the varieties evaluated under normal as well as under water deficit conditions over their respective control (Table  1A-E). Maximum germination followed by seedling length, seedling dry weight and finally vigour index I and II was recorded with KNO3 priming in both the varieties under normal as well as drought conditions. Amongst, the priming agents used, KNO3 performed better than MgSO4, Ca(NO3)2 and tap water in respect of most of the seed quality parameters. Per cent improvement due to osmo-priming over their respective control was higher in water deficit condition than normal moisture in all the seed quality parameters in general and reflected finally in vigour Index-I and Vigour Index-II (Fig 1 and 2) indicating thereby the role of osmo-priming under limiting environment. Similar findings have also been reported by Sathyamoorthy and Nakaumura (1995) in potato, Afzal et al., (2002) in maize, Yoganada et al., (2004) in bell papper, Satishkumar (2005) in brinjal, Poonam Singh et al., (2006) in sunflower, Tiwari et al., ( href="#tiwari_2013">2013) in mung bean, Tiwari et al., (2014) in pigeon pea, Tiwari et al., (2015) in rice, Tiwari et al., (2015) in mung bean and Tiwari et al., (2016) in wheat and Tiwari et al. (2018, 2019 and 2020) in pigeon pea have explained that osmo- priming with various chemicals to seeds eventually enhances rate of seed germination and encourages fast emergence of seedling in the field and this might have led  to an improvement in subsequent phases of plant growth and ultimately to  higher yield of crop. This is well known that during soaking of seed in KNO3, Mg SO4 or Ca(NO3)2 solution the cations Ca++, Mg++ or K,+ and anions SO4-, or NO3-in fluxed in the seeds and showed their carry over effect during vegetative growth period. Both the varieties responded priming treatments under both normal and water deficit conditions. Seed priming with different in- organic salts and plant growth regulator GA3 in pigeon pea crop have also been reported to improve the seed germination and seedling growth due to their nutritive role in the germination process by Tiwari et al. (2019) and Tiwari and Agarwal (2021). Significant effects of osmo priming with PEG-6000 were also noted on germination and crop performance of sun flower by Bourioug et al., (2020). Our finding with respect to response of seed priming with in- organic salts are very similar with findings of other workers in the field.

Table 1: Influence of seed osmo- priming on Seed quality parameters.

       
Seed priming with in- organic salts showed a slight improvement in plant height and leaf area over their respective unprimed control (Table 2A and B) under both normal and water deficit condition but statistically the improvements were insignificant though improvement in growth characters including leaf area index have been reported in late sown wheat by Jatana et al., (2020) using salicylic acid as priming agent. In the present study piming with tap water, KNO, Mg SO4 and Ca (NO)2 in 0.2% solution did not improve the plant height and leaf area in varieties Ujjwal and JG-14 both under normal as well as drought condition. The moisture level also did not affect the plant height and leaf area in both the varieties evaluated. Interactions of V×T, V×M, T×M and V×T×M were not significant. Osmo-priming treatments showed the significant and positive response in improvement of biochemical parameters including nitrogen balance index(NBI). Chlorophyll and flavonol over unprimed control and tap water priming in both the varieties evaluated under both normal and water deficit conditions (Table 3 A, B and C). Highest values of nitrogen balance index and chlorophyll were noted with Mg SO4 followed by KNO3 and Ca (NO3)2 because of their nutritive role in the respective metabolic synthesis but flavonols were higher with KNO3 followed by MgSO4 and were relatively higher under drought condition might be due to more synthesis in the moisture stress condition.  Chlorophylls are vital pigments that absorb a considerable amount of light energy and perform photosynthesis reactions in plant. Chlorophyll is very sensitive to various environmental stress, thus caused a significant reduction in chlorophyll contents and biosynthesis, thus effects plant growth (Demir and Mavi, 2004; Khan et al., 2009; Shah et al., 2012). In the present study seed priming significantly increased chlorophyll contents in chickpea seedlings. The results are in agreement with previous studies, who have reported that priming significantly enhanced chlorophyll contents in wheat leaves (Jiajin et al., 2010; Rahimi, 2013; Siri et al., 2013; Sharma et al., 2014). Chlorophyll contents is an important parameter often used as an indicator for developments of chloroplast and photosynthetic capacity (Xia et al., 2009; Anwar et al., (2020). Meena et al., 2016), thus considered as a base for plant growth and developmental process. These results suggested that seed priming enhanced chlorophyll contents thus leads to improve seedlings growth. Leaf nitrogen balance and chlorophyll have strong correlation and affects the photosynthetic capacity (Castro et al., 2014), which is a key molecule for photosynthesis. In the present study, we have reported that seed priming enhanced nitrogen balance and chlorophyll accumulation in chickpea leaves but their utilization by the plant was affected with moisture stress and resulted in relative decrease in photosynthetic efficiency under drought conditions.

Table 2: Influence of seed Osmo- priming on Plant Growth characters.



Table 3: Influence of seed osmo- priming on biochemical characters.


               
Osmo-priming treatments with different in-organic salts and tap water also showed the positive response in improvement of Stomatal conductance, photosynthetic rate and transpiration rate in both the varieties evaluated under normal as well as water deficit condition (Table 4 A, B and C). Amongst the in- organic salts used, KNO3 and Ca (NO3) were found more effective for enhancing the above parameters over the rest of the priming treatments and un primed control. Variety JG-14 showed higher values in the most of the parameters studied. In this study, Photosynthetic activities including photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate were significantly improved by seed priming in chickpea seedlings, as compared to un primed control. (Fig 3). Chlorophylls accumulation are important parameter frequently used as an indicator of photosynthetic capacity, in the present study we reported that seed priming enhanced chlorophyll accumulation resulted a significant increment in photosynthetic capacity. These results are similar to those of earlier studies, which reported that seed priming with Salicylic acid and PEG enhanced photosynthesis in rice seedlings (Li and Zhang, 2010; Shaheen et al., 2016), and Zhang et al., (2012), who had reported that photosynthesis capacity in cucumber plant were increased by seed priming and also increased photochemical efficiency of PS II. Seed priming enhanced significantly nutrients uptake and balancing of membrane potential and regulating of osmotic pressure cells (Chérel, 2004), thus it might be reasoning that seed priming regulate nitrogen balance, chlorophylls accumulation and there by photosynthetic efficiency and leads significant enhancement in chickpea seedlings growth.
All authors declared that there is no conflict of interest.

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