Turkish Journal of Botany




In the present study, the role of potassium (K) in mitigating the adverse effects of drought stress (DS) on 2 maize (Zea mays L.) cultivars, 'Shaandan 9' (S_{9}; drought-tolerant) and 'Shaandan 911' (S_{911}; drought-sensitive), was assessed. K application increased dry matter (DM) across all growth stages and grain yield (GY) in both cultivars under DS, but not under control conditions. Drought-tolerant cultivar S_9 was superior to drought-sensitive cultivar S_{911} under DS in terms of DM and GY regardless of K addition. Additionally, K application increased relative water content, nitrate reductase activity, and concentrations of potassium ion, free proline, soluble protein, and endogenous glycine betaine in both cultivars. These positive effects due to K fertilization under DS were greater for S_{911} than for S_{9}. In contrast, the differences in the above parameters between K-treated plants and plants under control conditions were either nonsignificant or marginal. This study provides direct evidence of the beneficial physiological function of K fertilization in mitigating the adverse effects of DS by increased nitrate assimilation and osmotic regulation, but not due to its nutritive role.


Relative water content, nitrate reductase activity, osmotic solutes, Poaceae, potassium fertilizer

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