Mitigate the effect of terminal heat stress by foliar use of Moringa leaf extract in late sown Chenopodium quinoa

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Muhammad Junaid, Heer Baloch, Shahid Iqbal, Muhammad Hammad Raza, Saqlain Raza, Muhammad Faheem Esha Mehik Fatima, Aun Raza, Mubashar Nadeem, Javaid Iqbal, Muhammad Sohail Saddiq


Quinoa is a crop that exhibits abiotic stress tolerance but is sensitive to heat, particularly terminal heat stress, which significantly reduces its yield. High temperatures lead to pollen sterility and grain abortion. To mitigate the effects of terminal heat stress, a field study was conducted at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan, focusing on the bio-stimulant potential of moringa leaf extract (MLE) on quinoa. Which was sown on 20 December 2016. The experiment was a complete randomized block design (RCBD) with three replications. The study involved the application of a 3% MLE foliar spray mixed with tap water, applied four and eight times fortnightly and weekly, respectively. The foliar applications began sixty days after sowing, during the flowering and grain-filling stage. Compared to the control treatment, the weekly and fortnightly foliar spray of MLE resulted in enhanced biochemical and physiological attributes, ultimately leading to increased seed yield. The highest seed yield was observed in plots where MLE was sprayed weekly (2980 kg/ha), followed by a fortnightly interval (2536.6 kg/ha), as compared to the control treatment (2121.33 kg/ha). Additionally, enzymatic antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, catalase, leaf proline, and chlorophyll contents (chlorophyll a, b, and carotenoid) showed improvement in plants treated with MLE foliar spray on a weekly basis compared to the control. These biochemical modulations induced by MLE application may help plants mitigate terminal heat stress, resulting in higher seed yields by improving the chlorophyll content and antioxidant defense system as compared to control and water spray treatments.

Keywords: Antioxidant; Heat stress; Moringa; Physiological traits; Quinoa; Seed yield

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