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Physiological and biochemical characterization of drought tolerance in chickpea
Chickpea (Cicer arietinum cv. Gokce.) is an agronomically and economically significant plant for Turkey. It is successfully grown under severe drought conditions which limit the growth of other plants. It is generally affected by terminal drought which causes retardation of flowering and decreases yield in Mediterranean and subtropical climates. The aim of this study was to determine significant factors which can be used to identify chickpea plant tolerance to drought stress. With this objective we assessed physiological (fresh and dry weight, relative and real water content) and biochemical (enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, malondialdehyde, total protein and phytohormone contents) parameters which were used to measure the impact of drought on chickpea. To determine drought's effects, we collected stressed (drought treated) and control (non drought treated) samples from the chickpea cultivar Gokce. Results showed that both fresh and dry weights of plants increased while real and relative water contents of plants decreased under drought stress. There was an increase in both malondialdehyde (MDA) and total protein contents under drought stress. Furthermore, glutathione reductase (GR) and catalese (CAT) enzyme activity increased in drought treated plants whereas guaiacol peroxidase (POD) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme activity decreased. Moreover, contents of indole acetic acid (IAA) and abscisic acid (ABA) increased in all tissue parts while contents of salicylic acid (SA), gibberellic acid (GA) and jasmonic acid (JA) increased in specific plant tissue parts during drought treatment. In conclusion it is obvious that all of these characters play essential roles in the drought tolerance of plants.