Authors: WASIF NOUMAN, MUHAMMAD TAHIR SIDDIQUI, SHAHZAD MAQSOOD AHMED BASRA
Abstract: Moringa oleifera leaf extract (MLE) is rich in amino acids, ascorbate, zeatin, minerals, and many other compounds known for their growth-promoting potential. This study was planned to explore the potential of MLE as a seed priming agent to increase the germination rate and plant vigor of 3 range grasses, i.e. Cenchrus ciliaris, Panicum antidotale, and Echinochloa crusgalli. The priming strategies used were hydropriming, CaCl_2, PEG-8000 (-1.1 M Pa), MLE (concentrate; 1:10, 1:20, 1:30, and 1:40 dilutions with distilled water), and matripriming using saturated jute mat for 24 h. The primed seeds were placed between 2 moist Whatman No. 1 filter papers in petri plates to evaluate germination and seedling vigor. Though all of the priming strategies excelled as compared to the control, matripriming and priming with 30× diluted MLE (1:30) were the most effective; thus, they were selected for further experimentation. In the second phase, these optimized priming strategies were used along with hydropriming and an unprimed control in pot studies. Both matripriming and MLE (1:30) priming significantly increased the germination. Matripriming was more effective in increasing the number of leaves, number of tillers, and shoot vigor for Cenchrus ciliaris and Panicum antidotale, but roots were more vigorous when primed with MLE (1:30). In the case of Echinochloa crusgalli, the results were reversed: the number of leaves, number of tillers, and shoot vigor were improved when primed by MLE (1:30), whereas matripriming maximally increased the root length and weight. It was concluded that both MLE (1:30) and matripriming with jute mat can be effectively used as priming agents for these rangeland grasses. Both strategies are low-cost, environmentally friendly, and can easily be adapted by farmers and range managers.
Keywords: Cenchrus ciliaris, Echinochloa crusgalli, matripriming, moringa leaf extract, Panicum antidotale
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