Fulvic Acid Application Improves the Maize Performance under Well-watered and Drought Conditions

S. A. Anjum, L. C. Wang*, M. Farooq, L. Xue, S. Ali

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


Water deficit is perhaps the most severe threat to sustainable crop production in the conditions of changing climate. Researchers are striving hard to develop resistance against water deficit in crop plants to ensure food security for the coming generations. This study was conducted to establish the role of fulvic acid (FA) application in improving the performance of hybrid maize (Zea mays L.) under drought. Maize plants were grown under normal conditions till tasselling and were then subjected to drought by cessation of water followed by foliar application of FA (1.5mgl-1). Drought stress disrupted the photosynthetic pigments and reduced the gas exchange leading to reduction in plant growth and productivity. Nonetheless, exogenous FA application substantially ameliorated the adversities of drought by sustaining the chlorophyll contents and gas exchange possibly by enhanced levels of antioxidant enzyme (superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT)) activities and proline. These beneficial effects yielded in terms of plant growth and allometry, and grain yield. It is interesting to note that FA application also improved the crop performance under well-watered conditions. Hence, FA may be applied to improve the crop performance under drought and well-watered conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-417
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agronomy and Crop Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Drought
  • Fulvic acid
  • Gas exchange
  • Maize

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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