Improving growth and yield of cowpea by foliar application of chitosan under water stress
Water stress impaired cowpea plant growth and decreased ion percentage and chlorophyll and carbohydrate concentration in the shoot as well as yield and its quality. Foliar-applied chitosan, in particular 250 mg/l, increased plant growth, yield and its quality as well as physiological constituents in plant shoot under stressed or nonstressed conditions as compared to untreated plants. Anatomically, water stress decreased thickness of leaf blade at midrib region, thickness of mesophyll tissue, thickness of midrib vascular bundle. Treatment with chitosan, in particular, 250 mg/l and their interactions with stress conditions increased all the above mentioned parameters in either non-stressed or stressed plants. It is suggested that the severity of cowpea plants damaged from water stress was reduced by 250 mg/l chitosan application.
Keywords: water stress, chitosan, cowpea, anatomy, growth, yield.