Testing of drought tolerance in wheat varieties on the basis of photosynthetic and O2 scavenging performance

J. Jakab, I. KirálY, É Sárvári, F. Láng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The goal of this study was to reveal the relationship between the stress tolerance capacity and easily recorded physiological responses of wheat varieties with known drought tolerance in the field. The peroxidase activity was lower in varieties with outstanding drought tolerance than in varieties less resistant to water deficiency. The superoxide dismutase activity was similar in both the treated and control plants of all the varieties examined, being only slightly lower than average in treated samples of the most drought-tolerant variety, Fatima. The fresh and dry masses of the roots and shoots of the varieties exhibited a correlation with their drought tolerance: the reduction in fresh mass was less intense in varieties with drought tolerance, while the dry mass of the roots and shoots increased in direct proportion to the drought tolerance capacity. The co2 fixation dropped sharply as a function of the percentage water deficit in the roots, while the total chlorophyll content of the plants exhibited smaller but significant changes. As the result of a long period of moderate water deficiency changes were observed in the amounts and ratios of the photosystem I, photosystem II and light-harvesting II complexes, reflecting acclimative alterations in the drought-tolerant varieties and degradative changes in more sensitive ones. The four wheat varieties examined formed two very distinct groups as regards drought tolerance. Two of the Martonvasar varieties carrying the 1B/1R wheat/rye translocation (Mv 17 and Fatima) were more tolerant of long periods of moderate water deficiency, while the third Martonvasar variety (Magma) and the UK variety Hereward proved to be more sensitive to water stress. The correlation revealed between the drought tolerance of the wheat varieties and physiological parameters (particularly peroxidase activity and changes in the ratios of pigment-protein complexes) makes it possible to predict the drought tolerance of the varieties by testing seedlings in the laboratory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-356
Number of pages10
JournalActa Agronomica Hungarica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Co fixation
  • Drought tolerance
  • Peroxidase
  • Pigment-protein complexes
  • Superoxide dismutase
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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