Effect of Polyethylene Glycol Pretreatment and Melatonin on Clod Resistance of ‘Khatoni’ Melon (Cucumis melo L.) Transplant

Document Type : Research Article


Torbat Jam


Introduction: Melon (Cucumis melo L.) is one of the most important vegetables in Cucurbitaceae family and one of the most important economic crops in the Torbat-e Jam city (Longitude: 60 ̊48', latitude: 35 ̊31', altitude: 928 m). Growth and yield of agricultural crops are affected by biotic and abiotic environmental stresses. Cold stress can be one of the most important environmental factors reducing crops yield. Cold acclimation in plant is a complex process involving many morphological, physiological and biochemical changes, including a significant reduction in tissue hydration during cold hardening. Melatonin (MEL, N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is a conserved substance, which has been discovered in all living organisms, from bacteria to mammals. MEL regulates the growth of root, shoot, and explant, activates seed germination and rhizogenesis, and delays leaf senescence. In addition, the most frequently mentioned functions of MEL are related to various abiotic stresses such as drought, radiation, low/high temperature, heavy metals, and salinity stresses.
Materials and Methods: In order to investigate the effect of PEG priming and melatonin on cold stress resistance of melon seedlings, a factorial experiment was conducted in a completely randomized design with three replications in Torbat-e-Jam University. In this experiment polyethylene glycol 6000 was used to produce drought stress at three levels (0, 0.18 and 0.58 MPa) and melatonin was used at two levels (0 and 200 μmol). When melon seedlings were at 4 leaf stage, the amount of polyethylene glycol was added to the irrigation solution for a week and to prevent drought stress, drought stress was increased for 3 days and increased one third of the required concentration daily. Recovery was performed for three days after drought stress and during this period melatonin was added to the irrigation solution at the required concentration. Seedlings were then exposed to cold stress (T0: non-stress and T1: cold conditions). Control plants were kept in greenhouse conditions.
Results and Discussion: Comparison of the mean results showed that there was an increasing trend in proline production by increasing drought stress. The highest amount of proline (0.80 µmol g-1 FW) was recorded at the highest level of drought pretreatment with no melatonin and without cold stress (D2M0T0), and then a decreasing trend in proline production was observed. The results showed that melatonin significantly increased leaf relative water content compared to the control. Interaction effects of drought pretreatment and temperature showed that there was a trend of decrease in relative water content by increasing drought pretreatment.  Ghanbari and Sayyari (8) reported that drought pretreatment stress maintains relative water content of tomato seedlings under cold stress conditions. Drought pretreatment significantly reduced the amount of chlorophyll a and total chlorophyll. The results showed that the highest levels of drought pretreatment stress (D2) and melatonin (M1) maintained chlorophyll a under cold stress conditions. Results showed that the amount of chlorophyll b was decreased by drought pretreatment stress, but it increased by melatonin application in all compounds. Based on the results, it was found that only simple effects of treatments at 1% of probability level had significant effects on soluble sugars content. Comparison of the mean simple effects of drought pretreatment showed that under drought stress the amount of soluble sugars increased significantly and the highest sugar content was recorded at the highest drought stress level. The amount of soluble sugars in plants under cold stress also increased significantly. Melatonin application also significantly increased the amount of soluble sugars. Kabiri et al. (19) reported that the use of melatonin increased soluble sugars in Moldavian balm seedlings under osmotic stress which is similar to this study results. It was found that melatonin significantly increased phenolic compounds under stress conditions and significantly decreased electrolyte leakage.


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Volume 34, Issue 3 - Serial Number 47
November 2020
Pages 481-491
  • Receive Date: 16 November 2019
  • Revise Date: 25 January 2020
  • Accept Date: 12 February 2020
  • First Publish Date: 21 November 2020