Exogenously Applied Gibberellic Acid Enhances Growth and Salinity Stress Tolerance of Maize through Modulating the Morpho-Physiological, Biochemical and Molecular Attributes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Soil salinity is the major limiting factor restricting plant growth and development. Little is known about the comparative and combined effects of gibberellic acid (GA3) seed priming and foliar application on maize under salt stress. The current study determined the impact of different application methods of GA3 on morpho-physiological, biochemical and molecular responses of maize seedlings under three salinity stress treatments (no salinity, moderate salinity-6 dS m-1, and severe salinity-12 dS m-1). The GA3 treatments consisted of control, hydro-priming (HP), water foliar spray (WFS), HP + WFS, seed priming with GA3 (GA3P, 100 mg L-1), foliar spray with GA3 (GA3FS, 100ppm) and GA3P + GA3FS. Salt stress particularly at 12 dS m-1 reduced the length of shoots and roots, fresh and dry weights, chlorophyll, and carotenoid contents, K+ ion accumulation and activities of antioxidant enzymes, while enhanced the oxidative damage and accumulation of the Na+ ion in maize plants. Nevertheless, the application of GA3 improved maize growth, reduced oxidative stress, and increased the antioxidant enzymes activities, antioxidant genes expression, and K+ ion concentration under salt stress. Compared with control, the GA3P + GA3FS recorded the highest increase in roots and shoots length (19-37%), roots fresh and dry weights (31-43%), shoots fresh and dry weights (31-47%), chlorophyll content (21-70%), antioxidant enzymes activities (73.03-150.74%), total soluble protein (13.05%), K+ concentration (13-23%) and antioxidants genes expression levels under different salinity levels. This treatment also reduced the H2O2 content, and Na+ ion concentration. These results indicated that GA3P + GA3FS could be used as an effective tool for improving the maize growth and development, and reducing the oxidative stress in salt-contaminated soils.

published proceedings

  • Biomolecules

author list (cited authors)

  • Shahzad, K., Hussain, S., Arfan, M., Hussain, S., Waraich, E. A., Zamir, S., ... El-Esawi, M. A.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Shahzad, Kashif||Hussain, Sadam||Arfan, Muhammad||Hussain, Saddam||Waraich, Ejaz Ahmad||Zamir, Shahid||Saddique, Maham||Rauf, Abdur||Kamal, Khaled Y||Hano, Christophe||El-Esawi, Mohamed A

publication date

  • July 2021