Analysis of Physiological Status in Response to Water Deficit of Spelt (Triticum aestivum ssp. spelta) Cultivars in Reference to Common Wheat (Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare)
Kowalczewski, Przemysław Łukasz
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Climate change, including decreasing rainfall, makes cultivating cereals more difficult. Drought stress reduces plant growth and most all yields. On the other hand, consumers’ interest in ancient wheat varieties, including spelt, is growing. The aim of this work is to compare the response to drought stress between spelt (Triticum aestivum ssp. spelta) and common wheat (Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare). Six cultivars of spelt from different European countries and common wheat ‘Bogatka’ as a reference were chosen for research. The photosynthesis process, chlorophyll fluorescence, relative water content, and the content of free proline and anthocyanins in well-watered and drought-stressed plants were measured. It was shown that the spelt cultivars ‘Franckenkorn’ and ‘Badengold’ were much more resistant to water deficit than other cultivars and even common wheat. A slight reduction of CO2 assimilation (by 27%) and no reduction of transpiration rate, with simultaneous intensive proline (eighteen times fold increase) and anthocyanins accumulation (increase by 222%) along with a slight increase in lipid peroxidation level (1.9%) revealed in ‘Franckenkorn’ prove that this cultivar can cope with drought and can be effectively cultivated in areas with limited water abundance.
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