EFFECT OF CHILLING STRESS ON THE PHOTOSYNTHETIC PERFORMANCE OF YOUNG PLANTS FROM TWO MAIZE (ZEA MAYS) HYBRIDS
: In the climate conditions of Bulgaria, early stages of maize plants development often go under suboptimal temperatures. Chilling stress is known to cause different physiological disturbances in young maize plants during the transition period from heterotrophic to autotrophic nutrition. However, the effect of chilling may differ among maize hybrids. Photosynthetic performance could be a good indicator for the hybrid tolerance to chilling. The aim of our study was to evaluate the tolerance of young maize plants from two hybrids – the new Bulgarian hybrid - Kneza 307 and the hybrid P9528 using as criteria the changes in their photosynthetic performance.
Plants at the third leaf stage were exposed for seven days to chilling stress. At the end of the experimental period, growth, leaf lipid peroxidation, and several photosynthetic parameters were measured. We found that chilling stress reduced the fresh mass accumulation, increased lipid peroxidation, diminished net photosynthetic rate and chlorophyll content, and enhanced non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. Although the responses of both hybrids were similar, some specificity were observed and discussed.
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