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Salicylic Acid Improves Rice Seed Germination under Induced Drought Stress

Salicylic Acid Improves Rice Seed Germination under Induced Drought Stress

Ch. Muhammad Rafiq1, Qasim Raza1*, Awais Riaz1, Misbah Hanif2, Wajiha Saeed2, Shawaiz Iqbal1, Tahir Hussain Awan1, Syed Sultan Ali1 and Muhammad Sabar1

1Rice Research Institute, Kala Shah Kaku, Sheikhupura, Punjab, Pakistan; 2Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan.

*Correspondence | Qasim Raza, Rice Research Institute, Kala Shah Kaku, Sheikhupura, Punjab, Pakistan; Email:


Rice is the staple food of more than 50% of the world’s population, and water scarcity is threating its sustainable production. Dry seeded rice (DSR) technology has water and labour saving advantages over conventional transplanting culture, however, poor crop establishment due to reduced germination in variable field conditions greatly hampers its large-scale adaption. To address subordinate germination issues, we investigated the effects of five salicylic acid (SA) concentrations (0, 75, 150, 225 and 300 ppm) on polyethylene glycol (PEG) induced drought stress conditions (0, -0.2, -0.4, -0.6 and -0.8 MPa). Highly significant (p < 0.01) effects of drought, SA and their interactions were observed on seed germination. Interestingly, varying SA concentrations imparted more pronounced effects under higher osmotic stress levels. Day-wise germination data indicated that the SA treatments alleviated inhibitory effects of different osmotic stress levels after 2–4 days of stress applications. Under medium to high osmotic stress levels, mean germination time, germination index and seed vigour index (SVI) of SA primed seeds were better than non-primed seeds. Remarkably, SVI of all SA concentrations under -0.2 MPa osmotic stress was surprisingly improved as compared with control and other osmotic stress levels, indicating a ‘drought-escape strategy’ in rice seeds under low osmotic stress level. Overall, our results indicated that seed priming with 225 ppm SA concentration is ideal under all environments and should be recommended in DSR system to improve early crop establishment and sustainable production.

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Journal of Innovative Sciences


Vol.9, Iss.2, Pages 192-241


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