The Effects of Foliar Application of Salicylic Acid and Ascorbic Acid on Morpho-Physiological Traits of Pistachio Seedlings under Drought Stress

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Pistachio Research Center, Horticultural Science Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Rafsanjan, Iran

3 Professor of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran

4 Assistant Professor of College of Agriculture, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran


This study was carried out to investigate the effects of foliar spray of salicylic acid and ascorbic acid on some morpho-physiological traits of Pistacia vera cv. Badami-zarand under drought stress. The experiment was conducted during 2017-2018 in the greenhouse condition, in a factorial randomized complete block design with three replications on pot plants. The soil texture of experimental pots was sandy-loam. Moreover, the three factors were considered as follows: first factor, drought stress treatments at three levels; control (100% usable moisture content), moderate stress (60% usable moisture content), and severe stress (30% usable moisture content); second factor, salicylic acid, at three levels (0, 0.5mM, and 1mM); and ascorbic acid at three levels (0, 0.5mM, and 1mM). At the end of experiment related physiological, morphological, and biochemical traits related to 6-month-old seedlings were assessed including the fresh and dry weight of leaf, stem and root, number of leaves, leaf thickness, diameter and length of stem, length of root, relative water content, rate of electrolyte leakage, rate of proline accumulation, rate of glycine betaine accumulation, chlorophyll a content, chlorophyll b content, and total chlorophyll. Generally, the results indicated that the value of morphological traits showed a significant reduction in stress treatments. In this experiment, it was found that the application of salicylic acid and ascorbic acid can also reduce the adverse effects of moderate drought stress. Furthermore, it was identified that the response of plant to salicylic acid treatment is similar to ascorbic acid. In general, the application of salicylic acid with a concentration of 0.5mM and ascorbic acid with concentrations of 0.5mM and 1mM is recommended to improve the adaptation of pistachio seedlings under moderate stress.


Abbaspour N, Babaee L (2017) Effect of salicylic acid application on oxidative damage and antioxidant activity of grape (Vitis vinifera L.) under drought stress condition. International Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology. 4(1), 29-50.
Ahanger MA, Akram NA, Ashraf M, Alyemeni MN, Wijaya L, Ahmad P (2017) Plant responses to environmental stresses-from gene to biotechnology. AoB PLANTS. doi:10.1093/aobpla/plx025, 1-14.
Aroca R (2012) Plant responses to drought stress: from morphological to molecular features. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, Germany. pp. 466.
Babashpour-Asl M, Piryaei M (2021) Free Radical Scavengering and Phenolic Compounds of Peel and Pulp of Quince. International Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology. 8(1), 91-101.
Bagheri V, Shamshiri MH, Shirani H, Roosta HR (2012) Nutrient uptake and distribution in mycorrhizal pistachio seedlings under drought stress. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology. 14, 1591-1604.
Bastam N, Baninasab B, Ghobadi C (2013) Improving salt tolerance by exogenous application of salicylic acid in seedlings of pistachio. Plant Growth Regulation. 69, 275-284.
Bates LS, Waldren RP, Teare RT (1973) Rapid determination of free proline for water-stress studies. Plant Soil. 39, 205-207.
Behboudian MH, Walker RR, Törökfalvy E (1986) Effects of water stress and salinity on photosynthesis of pistachio. Scientia Horticulturae. 29(3), 251-261.
Bijanzadeh E, Naderi R, Egan TP (2019) Exogenous of humic acid and salicylic acid to alleviate seedling drought stress in two corn (Zea mays L.) hybrids. Journal of Plant Nutrition. 42, 1483-1495.
Chun SC, Paramasivan M, Chandrasekaran M (2018) Proline accumulation influenced by osmotic stress in arbascular mycorrhizal symbiotic plants. Frontiers in Microbiology. 9, Article 2525, 1-13.
Di Martino C, Delfine S, Pizzuto R, Loreto F, Fuggi A (2003) Free amino acids and glycine betaine in leaf osmoregulation of spinach responding to increasing salt stress. New Phytologist. 158, 455-463.
Ebrahimian E, Bybordi A (2012) Influence of ascorbic acid foliar application on chlorophyll, flavonoids, anthocyanin and soluble sugar contents of sunflower under conditions of water deficit stress. Journal of food, Agriculture & Environment. 10(1), 1026-1030.
Elhakem AH (2019) Impact of Effects of salicylic acid application on growth, photosynthetic pigments and organic osmolytes response in Mentha arvensis under drought stress. Journal of Biological Sciences. 19(6), 372-380.
Fahad S, Bajwa AA, Nazir U, Anjum SA, Farooq A, Zohaib A, Sadia S, Nasim W, Adkins S, Saud S, Ihsan MZ, Alharby H, Wu C, Wang D, Huang J (2017) Crop production under drought and heat stress: plant responses and management options. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8, Article 1147, 1-16.
Falk S, Maxwell DP, Laudenbach DE, Huner NPA, Baker NR (1996) Photosynthesis and the Environment. In: Advances in photosynthesis, Vol 5, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 367–385.
Hajam MA, Hassan GI, Bhat TA, Bhat IA, Rather AM, Parray EA, Wani MA, Khan IF (2017) Understanding plant growth regulators, their interplay: for nursery establishment in fruits. International Journal of Chemical Studies. 5(5), 905-910.
Hajiboland R, Norouzi F, Poschenrieder C (2014) Growth, physiological, biochemical ionic responses of pistachio seedlings to mild and high salinity. Trees. 28, 1065-1078.
Hanson AD, Hitz WD (1982) Metabolic responses of mesophytes to plant water deficits. Annual Review of Plant Physiology. 33(1), 163-203.
Harper JR, Balke NE (1981) Characterization of the inhibition of K+ absorption in oat roots by salicylic acid. Plant Physiology. 68(6), 1349-1353.
Hasanuzzaman M, Banerjee A, Borhannud Bhuyan MHM, Roychoudhury A, Al Mahmud G, Fujita M (2019) Targeting glycinebetaine for abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants: Physiological mechanism, molecular interaction and signaling. Phyton International Journal of Experimental Botany. 88(3), 185-221.
Kamanga RM, Mbega E, Ndakidemi P (2018) Drought tolerance mechanisms in plants: physiological responses associated with water deficit stress in Solanum lycopersicum. Advances in Crop Science and Technology. 6(3), Article 362, 1-8.
Khan IRK, Fatma M, Per TS, Anjum NA, Khan NA (2015) Salicylic acid-induced abiotic stress tolerance and underlying mechanisms in plants. Frontiers in Plant Science. 6, Article 462, 1-17.
Khan W, Prithiviraj B, Smith DL (2003) Photosynthetic responses of corn and soybean to foliar application of salicylates. Journal of Plant Physiology. 160(5), 485-492.
Korres NE, Norsworthy JK, Tehranchian P, Gitsopoulos TK, Loka DA, Oosterhuis DM, Gealy DR, Moss SR, Burgos NR, Miller MR, Palhano M (2016) Cultivars to face climate change effects on crops and weeds: a review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 36(1), pp.12.
Liang X, Zhang L, Natarajan SK, Becker DF (2013) Proline mechanisms of stress survival. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. 19(9), 998-1011.
Lichtenthaler HK (1987) Chlorophylls and carotenoids: pigments of photosynthetic biomembranes. Methods in Enzymology. 148, 350-382.
Loka DA, Oosterhuis DM (2014) Water-deficit stress effects on pistil biochemistry and leaf physiology in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). South African Journal of Botany. 93, 131-136.
Lotfi N, Soleimani A, Vahdati K, Çakmakçı R (2019) Comprehensive biochemical insights into the seed germination of walnut under drought stress. Scientia Horticulturae 250, 329-43.
Lotfi N, Vahdati K, Kholdebarin B and Amiri R (2010) Drought-induced accumulation of sugars and proline in radicle and plumule of tolerant walnut varieties during germination phase. Acta Horticulturae. 861:289-296.
Malinowska KM, Myśków B, Czyczylo_Mysza I, Góralska M (2018) Study on changes and relationships of physiological and morphological parameters of rye subjected to soil drought stress. Acta Agrophysica. 25(3), 261-275.
Manzoor K, Ilyas N, Batool N, Ahmad B, Arshad M (2015) Effect of salicylic acid on the growth and physiological characteristics of maize under stress conditions. Journal of the Chemical Society of Pakistan. 37(3), 588-593.
Medrano H, Tomás M, Martorell S, Flexas J, Hernández E, Rosselló J, Pou A, Escalona JM, Bota J (2015) From leaf to whole-plant water use efficiency (WUE) in complex canopies: limitations of leaf WUE as a selection target. The Crop Journal. 3, 220-228.
Nazar R, Umar S, Khan NA, Sareer O (2015) Salicylic acid supplementation improves photosynthesis and growth in mustard through changes in proline accumulation and ethylene formation under drought stress. South African Journal of Botany. 98, 84-94.
Németh M, Janda T, Horváth E, Páldi E, Szalai G (2002) Exogenous salicylic acid increases polyamine content but may decrease drought tolerance in maize. Plant Science. 162(4), 569-574.
Noctor G, Foyer CH (1998) Ascorbate and glutathione: keeping active oxygen under control. Annual review of plant physiology and plant molecular biology. 49, 249-279.
Panahi B, Esmaeilpour A, Farbood F, Moazenpour-kermani M, Farivar-Mehin H (2001) Pistachio guide. Agricultural Education Publication, AREEO, Karaj, I. R. of Iran. pp. 149 [In Persian].
Penella C, Calatayud Á, Melgar JC (2017) Ascorbic acid alleviates water stress in young peach trees and improves their performance after rewatering. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8, Article 1627, 1-9.
Picchioni GA, Miyamoto S, Storey JB (1991) Rapid testing of salinity effects on pistachio seedling rootstocks. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 116(3), 555-559.
Razmi N, Ebadi A, Daneshian J, Jahanbakhsh S (2017) Salicylic acid induced changes on antioxidant capacity, pigments and grain yield of soybean genotypes in water deficit condition. Journal of Plant Interactions. 12(1), 457-464.
Saeidi M, Abdoli M (2015) Effect of drought stress during grain filling on yield and its components, gas exchange variables, and some physiological traits of wheat cultivars. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology. 17, 885-898.
Saruhan N, Saglam A, Kadioglu A (2012) Salicylic acid pretreatment induces drought tolerance and delays leaf rolling by inducing antioxidant systems in maize genotypes. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum. 34, 97-106.
Sedaghati N, Hokmabadi H (2015) Optimizing pistachio irrigation management using the relationship between eco-physiological characteristics and water stress. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology. 17, 189-200.
Seminario A, Song L, Zulet A, Nguyen HT, González EM, Larrainzar E (2017) Drought stress causes a reduction in the biosynthesis of ascorbic acid in soybean plants. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8, Article 1042, 1-10.
Sepaskhah AR, Maftoun M (1982) Growth and chemical composition of pistachio seedlings as influenced by irrigation regimes and salinity levels of irrigation water. II. Chemical composition. Journal of Horticultural Science. 57(4), 469-476.
Shahmoradi H, Naderi D (2018) Improving effects of salicylic acid on morphological, physiological and biochemical responses of salt-imposed winter jasmine. International Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology. 5(2), 219-30.
Shamshiri M, Hasani M (2015) Synergistic accumulative effects between exogenous salicylic acid and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus in pistachio (Pistacia vera cv. Abareqi) seedlings under drought stress. International Journal of Horticultural Sciences and Technology. 2(2):151-160.
Sharma P, Jha AB, Dubey RS, Pessarakli M (2012) Reactive oxygen species, oxidative damage, and antioxidative defense mechanism in plants under stressful conditions. Journal of Botany. 2012: 217037.doi: 10.1155/2012/217037.
Shirani Bidabadi S, Mahmood M, Baninasab B, Ghobadi C (2012) Influence of salicylic acid on morphological and physiological responses of banana (Musa acuminate cv. ‘Berangan’, AAA) shoot tips to in vitro water stress induced by polyethylene glycol. Plant Omics Journal. 5(1), 33-39.
Tardieu F (2013) Plant response to environmental conditions: assessing potential production, water demand, and negative effects of water deficit. Frontiers in Physiology. 4, Article 17: 1-11.
Turner NC (1981) Techniques and experimental approaches for the measurement of plant water status. Plant and Soil. 58(1-3), 339-366.
Vahdati K, Lotfi N, Kholdebarin B, Hasani D and Amiri R (2009) Screening for drought tolerant genotypes of Persian walnuts (Juglans regia L.) during seed germination. HortScience. 44(7):1815–1819.
Wu QS, Zou YN (2009) Mycorrhizal influence on nutrient uptake of citrus exposed to drought stress. Philippine Agricultural Scientists. 92(1), 25-32.
Xu Y, Xu Q, Huang B (2015) Ascorbic acid mitigation of water stress-inhibition of root growth in association with oxidative defense in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.). Frontiers in Plant Science. 6, Article 807, 1-14.
Zokaee-Khosroshahi M, Esna-Ashari M, Ershadi A, Imani A (2014) Morphological changes in response to drought stress in cultivated and wild almond species. International Journal of Horticultural Science and Technology. 1(1), 79-92.
Zonouri M, Javadi T, Ghaderi N (2014) Effect of foliar spraying of ascorbic acid on cell membrane stability, lipid peroxidation, total soluble protein, ascorbate peroxidase and leaf ascorbic acid under drought stress in grapes. International Journal of advanced biological biomedical research. 2(4)2, 349-354.