GROWTH, YIELD AND FATTY ACIDS RESPONSE OF OENOTHERA BIENNIS TO WATER STRESS AND POTASSIUM FERTILIZER APPLICATION
Objective: The objective of this research was to study the effects of water stress treatments (40, 60, and 80 % available soil moisture, ASM) and/or potassium application (0, 0.4 and 0.8 g/pot) on growth parameters, yield and fatty acids content and composition of Oenothera biennis under greenhouse conditions.
Methods: A two years pot experiment was conducted on Oenothera biennis under Egypt conditions in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 seasons. Growth, seed yield (g/plant) and seed fixed oil content recorded at the first and second seasons. The fatty acid profile of total lipids extracted from Oenothera biennis was determined by Gas-liquid chromatography (GLC) analysis.
Results: Growth characteristics (plant height, the number of branches, the number of capsules/plant and dry weights of the whole plant, root, and straw), seed yield (g/plant) and oil yield in two seasons were significantly decreased with the rise in water stress levels. Oil % was stimulated in response to water stress. Application of potassium counteracted the adverse effects of water stress. The maximum growth, seed yield and oil yield were obtained from plants irrigated with 80 % available soil moisture (ASM) plus potassium (0.8 g/pot). On the contrary, supplying plants with a water level of 40 % ASM and with potassium (0.8 g/pot) or (0.4 g/pot) gave the best result for the oil percentage in the first and second seasons, respectively. In respect to fatty acids profile, the percentage of C16:0, C18:1n9 and C22:0 acids were increased with increasing water stress while a reverse response was observed in C18:0, C18:2n6, C20:0, C18:3n6 and C20:1n9 acids. K application attenuated oil composition, where it led to a slight increase in C18:2n6 and C20:0 acids while decreased the percentages of C16:0, C18:1n9, C22:0 acids C18:0, C18:3n6 and C20:1n9 acids. Potassium rates plus 60 % ASM increased C18:0 and C18:1n9 acids while K application with both of 60 % ASM and 40 % ASM increased C18:2n6 and C20:0 acids. The C22:0 acids increased under the interaction of all irrigation treatments with (0.4 g/pot) dose of K. However, C16:0 acids increased as a result of 80 % ASM treatment with the different potassium rates. This study demonstrated the beneficial effects of K application to alleviating the adverse effects of water stress on Oenothera plants.
Conclusion: Increasing irrigation levels increased the plant height, the number of branches, the number of capsules/plant, seed yield and dry weights of the whole plant, root, and straw of Oenothera biennis and the optimum irrigation level for the highest yields of these variables was 80 % ASM. Whereas, oil % decreased with increasing irrigation levels and the optimum irrigation level for the highest oil % was 40 % ASM. However, for the oil yield from plants that received 80 % ASM produced more oil yield than plants received 60 % or 40 % ASM. Application of potassium counteracted the adverse effects of water stress. Potassium fertilizer increased plant height, the number of branches, the number of capsules/plant, seed yield and dry weights of the whole plant, root, and straw of Oenothera biennis. Application of potassium could be a practical approach for enhancing the oil accumulation in Oenothera biennis. The current study provided important information about the qualitative and quantitative changes in the fatty acids profile of Oenothera biennis in relation to potassium application under water stress conditions.
Keywords: Fatty acids, Oenothera biennis, Potassium fertilizer, Water stress
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