International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences

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Enhancement of proline content and antioxidant enzyme activities induced by drought stress in maize (Zea mays L.) by application of compost

Atalaèsso Bokobana, Outendé Toundou, Komi Odah, Koffi S.S. Dossou, Koffi Tozo


In sub-Saharan Africa, soil degradation and recurrent droughts are major obstacles to a sustainable agriculture. This study aimed at investigating the effect of compost addition to soil on proline content and activities of the antioxidant enzymes [catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX)] in maize plants, under drought stress conditions. The test was carried out in 20L plastic pots containing either sandy soil or sandy soil with the fertilizer, under natural conditions. The water deficit was induced at male blooming and milky grain stages. Plant irrigation was done by successive weighing of the pots during which the control is reduced to the same weight corresponding to 70% of the useful water reserve (UWR), while the stressed treatment maintains the water content at 30% of the UWR for 10 days. At the end of the stress period, the proline content, the CAT and APX activities in the leaves were determined through a spectrophotometry. The results show an important accumulation of proline and increase in enzymatic activity induced by water deficit in plants grown on compost (p = 0.00000 at p < 0.05). This study provides evidence for a beneficial effect of compost application in enhancing drought tolerance of maize.

Keywords: Drought stress; compost; proline; antioxidant enzymes; Zea mays L.

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