Drought Stresses on Seed Germination and Early Growth of Maize and Sorghum

  •  Mariana S. Queiroz    
  •  Carlos E. S. Oliveira    
  •  Fábio Steiner    
  •  Alan M. Zuffo    
  •  Tiago Zoz    
  •  Eduardo P. Vendruscolo    
  •  Mennes V. Silva    
  •  Bruna F. F. R. Mello    
  •  Rogério C. Cabral    
  •  Flavio T. Menis    


Seeds of maize (Zea mays L.) and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench.] were submitted to different osmotic potential levels induced by polyethylene glycol (PEG) with the objective of evaluating the effects of drought stress on seed germination and early seedling growth. Seeds were arranged in paper rolls and soaked in PEG solutions prepared with osmotic potentials 0.0 (control), -0.2, -0.4, and -0.8 MPa and kept into a seed germinator, at 25 °C for 18 days. A completely randomized design in a 2 × 4 factorial scheme with four replications of 50 seeds each was used. The results showed that by increasing of the osmotic potential level, germinated seed number, germination rate index, root and shoot length, shoot and root dry matter, and seedling vigor index (SVI) decreased, while mean germination time (MGT) and root: shoot ratio (RSR) increased in both crops. Additionally, the maize was more susceptible than sorghum to drought stress, with germination response declining more rapidly with decreasing osmotic potential. Sorghum crop tolerates water stress of up to -0.2 MPa, without reducing germination of the seeds; however, the growth of shoots and roots are inhibited. Drought stress limits the process of seed germination and early growth of maize seedlings.

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