Exogenously applied polyamines increase drought tolerance of rice by improving leaf water status, photosynthesis and membrane properties

Muhammad Farooq*, Abdul Wahid, Dong Jin Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Citations (Scopus)


Drought stress hampers rice performance principally by disrupting the plant-water relations and structure of biological membranes. This study appraised the role of polyamines (PAs) in improving drought tolerance in fine grain aromatic rice (Oryza sativa L.). Three PAs [putrescine (Put), spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm)] were used each at 10 μM as seed priming (by soaking seeds in solution) and foliar spray. Primed and non-primed seeds were sown in plastic pots with normal irrigation in a phytotron. At four-leaf stage, plants were subjected to drought stress by bringing the soil moisture down to 50% of field capacity by halting water supply. For foliar application, 10 μM solutions each of Put, Spd and Spm were sprayed at five-leaf stage. Results revealed that drought stress severely reduced the rice fresh and dry weights, while PAs application improved net photosynthesis, water use efficiency, leaf water status, production of free proline, anthocyanins and soluble phenolics and improved membrane properties. PAs improved drought tolerance in terms of dry matter yield and net photosynthesis was associated with the maintenance of leaf water status and improved water use efficiency. Among the antioxidants, catalase activity was negatively related to H2O2 and membrane permeability, which indicated alleviation of oxidative damage on cellular membranes by PAs application. Foliar application was more effective than the seed priming, and among the PAs, Spm was the most effective in improving drought tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-945
Number of pages9
JournalActa Physiologiae Plantarum
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Drought stress
  • Leaf water status
  • Oxidative damage
  • Photosynthesis
  • Polyamines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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