Seed biopriming with drought tolerant isolates of Trichoderma harzianum promote growth and drought tolerance in Triticum aestivum
Shukla, N.; Awasthi, R. P.; Rawat, L.; Kumar, J.
Annals of Applied Biology 166(2): 171-182
Green house study was aimed to investigate the effect of seed biopriming with drought tolerant isolates of Trichoderma harzianum, viz. Th 56, 69, 75, 82 and 89 on growth of wheat under drought stress and to explore the mechanism underlying plant water stress resilience in response to Trichoderma inoculation. Measurements of relative water content, osmotic potential, osmotic adjustment, leaf gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence and membrane stability index were performed. In addition, analysis of the phenolics, proline, lipid peroxidation and measurements of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity were carried out. Seed biopriming enhanced drought tolerance of wheat as drought induced changes like stomatal conductance, net photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence were delayed. Drought stress from 4 to 13 days of withholding water induced an increase in the concentration of stress induced metabolites in leaves, while Trichoderma colonisation caused decrease in proline, malondialdehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and an increase in total phenolics. A common factor that negatively affects plants under drought stress conditions is accumulation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), and we tested the hypothesis that seed biopriming reduced damages resulting from accumulation of ROS in stressed plants. The enhanced redox state of colonised plants could be explained by higher l-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) activity in leaves after 13 days of drought stress in Trichoderma treated plants. Similar activity was induced in untreated plants in response to drought stress but to a lower extent in comparison to treated plants. Our results support the hypothesis that seed biopriming in wheat with drought tolerant T. harzianum strains increased root vigour besides performing the process of osmoregulation. It ameliorates drought stress by inducing physiological protection in plants against oxidative damage, due to enhanced capacity to scavenge ROS and increased level of PAL, a mechanism that is expected to augment tolerance to abiotic stresses.