Limited water availability is a severe threat to the sustainability of crop production. Exogenous application of glycinebetaine (GB) has been found very effective in reducing the adverse affects of water scarcity. This study was conducted to examine the role of exogenous GB application in improving the yield of hybrid sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) under different irrigation regimes. There were three levels of irrigation: Control (four irrigations), three irrigations (irrigation missing at budding stage) and two irrigations (irrigation missing at budding and grain formation stage) in the experiment. While GB was applied exogenously at 100 mM GB each at budding and grain formation stages, the Control treatment did not receive any GB application. Data regarding yield, yield components and quality parameters showed that water stress reduced the head diameter, number of achene per head, 1000-achene weight and yield. Nonetheless, it was significantly improved by the exogenous GB application. Among the qualitative characteristics, protein contents were significantly increased by water stress at different growth stages but were reduced by exogenous GB application. Whilst oil contents were reduced by drought at different stages, GB application, however, did not ameliorate the negative effect of drought stress on achene oil contents. The effects of water stress and foliar application of GB were more pronounced when applied at vegetative stage than at the reproductive stage. Moreover, exogenous GB application was only advantageous under stress conditions.
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