Exogenously applied nitric oxide enhances the drought tolerance in fine grain aromatic rice (Oryza sativa L.)

M. Farooq*, S. M.A. Basra, A. Wahid, H. Rehman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


Drought stress is a severe threat to the sustainable rice production, which causes oxidative damage and disturbs plant water relations, while exogenously applied nitric oxide (NO) may have the potential to alleviate these effects in rice plants. In this study, the role of NO to improve drought tolerance in fine grain aromatic rice (Oryza sativa L. cv. Basmati 2000) was evaluated. Sodium nitroprusside, a NO donor, was used at 50, 100 and 150 μmol l-1 both as seed priming and foliar spray. To prime, the seeds were soaked in aerated NO solution of respective solution for 48 h and dried back to original weight. Primed and non-primed seeds were sown in plastic pots with normal irrigation in a greenhouse. At four leaf stage, plants were subjected to drought stress except the controls, which were kept at full field capacity. Drought was maintained at 50 % of field capacity by watering when needed. Two controls were maintained; both receiving no NO treatments as foliar application or seed treatment, one under drought conditions and the other under well-watered conditions. Drought stress seriously reduced the rice growth, but both methods of NO application alleviated the stress effects. Drought tolerance in rice was strongly related to the maintenance of tissue water potential and enhanced capacity of antioxidants, improved stability of cellular membranes and enhanced photosynthetic capacity, plausibly by signalling action of NO. Foliar treatments proved more effective than the seed treatments. Among NO treatment, 100 μmol l-1 foliar spray was more effective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-261
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Agronomy and Crop Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress
  • Photosynthesis
  • Water relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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