Gas exchange, growth and quality of guava seedlings under salt stress and salicylic acid
Guava is a popular Brazilian fruit that is widely produced in Northeastern Brazil, a region with water sources that commonly have high concentrations of salts. Thus, searching for techniques that allow the management of these waters is extremely important for the expansion of irrigated agriculture. In this context, salicylic acid is a phytohormone that can contribute to reducing the effects of salt stress on plants. Given the above, this study evaluated the effect of foliar application of salicylic acid at different concentrations in the mitigation of salt stress on gas exchange, growth, and quality of 'Paluma' guava seedlings. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse, in Campina Grande - PB, Brazil, using a randomized block design in a 5 × 5 factorial arrangement, corresponding to five levels of electrical conductivity of water (0.6, 1.5, 2.4, 3.3, and 4.2 dS m-1) and five concentrations of salicylic acid (0 - Control; 0.8, 1.6, 2.4, and 3.2 mM), with four replicates and two plants per plot. Foliar application of salicylic acid at a concentration of up to 1.4 mM reduced the deleterious effects of salt stress on the instantaneous water use efficiency of 'Paluma' guava seedlings at 180 days after sowing. The concentrations of salicylic acid applied via foliar did not mitigate the harmful effects of irrigation water salinity on the growth and quality of 'Paluma' guava seedlings.
Keywords: Abiotic stress, Psidium guajava L., water scarcity.
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