Effects of gibberellic acid on water uptake and germination of sweet sorghum seeds under salinity stress

Guanglong Zhu1, 2, 3, Linlin An2, Xiurong Jiao1, Xubing Chen2, Guisheng Zhou1, 2, 3, 4*, and Neil McLaughlin5
Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench) is a potential feedstock crop in biomass energy development and is much more resistant to saline soils than crops. Healthy seed germination is critical for the growth cycle of plants, and determines the establishment of seedlings and subsequent crop production. High salinity conditions can result in difficulty for seed germination and delays the germination period. So, screening salt-tolerant genotypes and method for healthy seed germination under salinity stress are vital to crop production and food security. Therefore, a controlled study was conducted to explore the interactive amendment effects of exogenous gibberellic acid (GA3) and salinity on seed germination process of sweet sorghum. Seeds were presoaked in different levels of GA3 water solutions (0, 144, 288, and 576 μM) and then cultivated in gradient NaCl solutions (0, 50 and 100 mM). The effects of salinity and external GA3 on seed water uptake and germination characteristics were investigated. Compared with the effects of 0 μM GA3 at 0 mM NaCl, slight salt stress of 50 mM NaCl improved the cumulative water uptake, germination and germination index, but high salinity level of 100 mM NaCl significantly inhibited these germination traits. However, either 100 mM NaCl or 576 μM GA3 had significantly negative effects on seed cumulative water uptake, cumulative germination, germination index, and length of germ and radicle. The appropriate concentration of GA3 prominently relieved salt stress and improved the seed germination of sorghum seeds, and the optimum concentration for seed germination of sweet sorghum was 288 μM GA3 at each salinity level.
Keywords: GA3, germination, saline stress, sweet sorghum, water uptake.
1Yangzhou University, Joint International Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Product Safety, Yangzhou, 225009, Jiangsu, China.
2Yangzhou University, Key Lab of Crop Genetics & Physiology of Jiangsu Province, Agricultural College, Yangzhou 225001, Jiangsu, China.
3Yangzhou University, Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Modern Production Technology of Grain Crops, Yangzhou 225009, China.
4Yangzhou University, Joint Laboratory in Agricultural Sciences between AAFC, 225009, Jiangsu, China.
*Corresponding author (gszhou@yzu.edu.cn).
5Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa Research and Development Center, 960 Carling Ave., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.