Physiological response of Bajra-Napier Hybrids and Tri-Specific Hybrid to salinity stressPhysiological response of Bajra-Napier Hybrids and Tri-Specific Hybrid to salinity stress

Seva Nayak Dheeravathu, Kajal Singh, Pramod W. Ramteke, Reetu -, Nilamani Dikshit, Mahendra Prasad, Dibyendu Deb, Thulasi Bai Vadithe


Physiological responses of 3 Bajra-Napier (Cenchrus spp., syn. Pennisetum spp.) hybrid varieties, viz. BNH-3, BNH-6, BNH-10, and 1 ttri-specific hybrid (TSH) were tested under different gradients of soil salinity, i.e. Control, 4, 6 and 8 dS/m electric conductivity (EC), in a pot trial. The experiment was laid out in a factorial completely randomized design with 3 replications. Shoot dry weight, root dry weight, root:shoot ratio and chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total chlorophyll and carotenoid concentrations were reduced with increasing salinity level as compared with Control. However, the concentration of Na+ in leaves increased and K+ concentration decreased with increasing salinity level. Physiological parameters, i.e. relative water content (RWC), membrane stability index (MSI), chlorophyll stability index, carotenoid stability index and K+: Na+ ratio, in leaves tended to be higher in the BNH-3 variety than in other varieties. Shoot dry weight showed highly positive significant correlation with RWC, MSI, K+ concentration and K+:Na+ ratio, while it was negatively correlated with Na+ concentration (P<0.01) All BN hybrid varieties and the tri-specific hybrid studied were susceptible to salinity stress, showing marked reductions in growth as the level of salinity increased above 4 dS/m. However, even at salinity levels producing EC of 8 dS/m these varieties still produced 25‒44% DM yields. There are prospects for improving forage yields from saline soils by planting these hybrids but further breeding studies are warranted to identify germplasm with greater tolerance of saline conditions if these soils are to be utilized effectively to contribute more to supplying forage to support the world’s ruminant population.

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