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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Synergistic effects of biochar and potassium co-application on growth, physiological attributes, and antioxidant defense mechanisms of wheat under water deficit conditions

Chowdhury, Md. Shah Newaz; Sani, Md. Nasir Hossain; Siddique, Abu Bakar; et al.


Global wheat production faces a severe threat from drought stress, necessitating innovative strategies for enhanced crop resilience. This study examined the synergistic impact of biochar and potassium co-application on the growth, physiological attributes, and antioxidant defense system of wheat under water deficit conditions at crown root initiation (CRI), anthesis, and grain development stage. Drought-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, particularly pronounced at the CRI stage, adversely affected all growth stages. At CRI, co-application of biochar and foliar potassium delivered significant improvements in growth parameters, including increased plant height (15.4%), spike length (50%), grain yield (43.0%), photosynthetic performance (chlorophyll content 125.8%), and relative water content (11.2%), compared to untreated drought-exposed counterparts. The combined application of biochar and potassium effectively reduced hydrogen peroxide production, electrolyte leakage, proline accumulation, and malondialdehyde generation, while increasing relative water content and glutathione levels under both well-irrigated and drought stress conditions. Furthermore, the combined biochar and potassium treatment was effective in mitigating oxidative stress and enhancing physiological resilience in wheat, particularly during the anthesis stage of drought stress. Specifically, the combined treatment ameliorated the effects of drought by reducing ROS levels through enhanced antioxidant enzyme activities and elevating osmoprotectants levels. The synergistic modulation of tissue osmotic balance and relative water content holds promise for mitigating drought-induced stress, offering an innovative and practical strategy for resilient wheat production in water-limited environments.


Biochar; Foliar K; Drought; Growth stages; Wheat; Antioxidant defense

Published in

Plant stress
2024, Volume: 12, article number: 100452