The Effect of Potassium Foliar Application on Cucumber Plants of ‘Miran’ Cultivar under Drought Stress

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran


Drought stress is one of the most important factors limiting plant growth and production and leads to a reduction of more than 50% in the average production of most crops worldwide. Drought stress due to increased soil osmotic potential, especially in greenhouses where fertilizer consumption is high, is one of the greenhouse crop problems.
Material and Methods
In the present study, two concentrations of polyethylene glycol at three levels of 0 (D1), -1.48 (D2), 4-91 (D3 ds/m to create different levels of drought stress due to osmotic changes in culture medium and application of KCl two levels (0 (K1) and 6 (K2) mmol / l) was used to reduce the possible effects. The experiment was performed as a factorial experiment in a completely randomized design with three replications. To apply drought stress, pot water was measured using a tensiometer, and when the drought reached below the field capacity (FC), irrigation with different concentrations of PEG and once a week spraying with KCl at the desired concentrations was done. Cucumber seeds were planted directly in 5 kg plastic pots containing a mixture of potting soil, including soil + sand + animal manure in the ratio of 1 + 2 + 0.5. The number of seedlings in each pot was 2 to 3 kg, which was reduced to one seedling seventeen days after sowing the seeds in the stage of three to four leaves. KCl spraying and spraying began in the three to the four-leaf stage of the seedlings and lasted for about a month. The plants were kept in the greenhouse during the experiment with an average temperature of 25 ° C and relative humidity of 70%. At the end of the experiment, dry weight, fresh weight, chlorophyll, chlorophyll fluorescence, flavonoids, carotenoids, proline, phenol, total protein, abscisic acid, superoxide, and ascorbate peroxidase, antioxidants, and catalase were measured.
The results showed that the effect of foliar application of potassium in all traits except chlorophyll fluorescence and superoxide dismutase was significant (P <0.01). According to the obtained results, ccontrol treatment increased the amount of antioxidants and catalase, but the application of K2 on most of the measured parameters, including dry weight, fresh weight, chlorophyll, flavonoids, carotenoids, proline, phenol, total protein, abscisic acid, and superoxide disodium showed a positive effect. In D3 with the addition of K2 the highest amount of phenol and protein was observed. Also, the content of abscisic acid in all treatments increased with the addition of K2 and the highest amount was observed in D3 which can be concluded that the use of potassium at a concentration of 6 mM Acceptable cut. According to the results obtained in this study, it can be stated that the plant tries to maintain its osmotic pressure in the face of drought stress, and this is done by increasing osmolites such as proline and antioxidant enzymes that help maintain plant cell pressure and torsion. Potassium application can reduce the adverse effects of drought stress by improving the activity of antioxidant enzymes and preserving chlorophyll. Thus, the cell continues its vital activities and ultimately produces more acceptable performance under these conditions. In other words, increasing the antioxidant activity in drought conditions along with the application of potassium leads to a higher inhibitory capacity of reactive oxygen species and production stability in these conditions. Therefore, to compensate for at least some harmful effects of stress and help the plant to return to normal growth conditions after re-irrigation, foliar application of such elements can be effective in drought resistance of the plant and play a role. Based on the findings of this study, it seems that the application of potassium with a concentration of 6 mM is the most effective.


Main Subjects

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Volume 36, Issue 3 - Serial Number 55
November 2022
Pages 563-576
  • Receive Date: 05 January 2021
  • Revise Date: 01 February 2022
  • Accept Date: 05 June 2021
  • First Publish Date: 09 June 2021