Abstract— A pot experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) like Azotobacter chrocoocum A101, Pseudomonas fluorescens, pseudomonas mendocina Palleroni 1970 and Azospirillum lipoferum N040 or proline on growth traits, photosynthetic pigments, relative water content (RWC), electrolyte leakage percent (EL%), osmoprotectants such as proline and soluble sugars, activities of antioxidant enzymes like peroxidase (POD), polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and catalase (CAT), oil percent and water use efficiency (WUE) of basil plants subjected to water stress. Plants were treated with two regimes of irrigation water, i.e., 100% of evapotranspiration (ETc) (control) and 60% of ETc and PGPR or proline. Growth traits, photosynthetic pigments, RWC, EL %, proline and soluble sugars concentrations, activities of antioxidant enzymes oil percent and water use efficiency (WUE) were significantly altered by water stress and PGPR or proline treatments. Results indicated that PGPR or proline mitigated the water stress and significantly reduced the reduction in growth traits and leaf water content as compared to non-PGPR or proline-treated water-stressed plants. Water-stressed plants treated with PGPR or proline had significant higher photosynthetic pigments, proline and soluble sugars concentrations than water-stressed plants without PGPR or proline treatments. Higher POD, PPO and CAT activities were also observed in water-stressed plants treated by PGPR or proline than water-stressed plants without PGPR or proline treatments. Furthermore, water-stressed plants treated with PGPR or proline treatments had also significant higher oil percent and WUE as compared to water-stressed plants without PGPR or proline treatments. These results are important as the potential of PGPR or proline to alleviate the harmful effects of water stress and offers an opportunity to increase the resistance of basil plants to growth under drought conditions. The protective action of PGPR was more efficient than proline.
Keywords— Antioxidant system; Anatomy; Basil; Osmoprotectants; PGPR; Proline; Water stress.
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