Gracilaria dura extract confers drought tolerance in wheat by modulating abscisic acid homeostasis

Sandeep Sharma, Chen Chen, Kusum Khatri, Mangal S. Rathore, Shree P. Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Water stress severely reduces the production of wheat. Application of seaweed extracts have started to show promise in protecting plants from environmental stresses as they contain several biostimulants. However, the modes of action of these biostimulants are not clear. Here, we investigated the role of Gracilaria dura (GD), a red alga, in conferring stress tolerance to wheat during drought under glasshouse and agro-ecological conditions by integrating molecular studies with physiological and field investigations. GD-sap application conferred drought tolerance (as the biomass increased by up to 57% and crop yield by 70%), via facilitating physiological changes associated to maintaining higher water content. GD-sap application significantly increased ABA accumulation (2.34 and 1.46 fold at 4 and 6 days of drought, respectively) due to enhanced expression of biosynthesis genes. This followed an activation of ABA response genes and physiological processes including reduced stomatal opening, thus reducing water loss. Moreover, GD-sap application enhanced the expression of stress-protective genes specifically under water stress. Treatment with fluridone, an ABA inhibitor, further support the role of ABA in GD-sap mediated drought tolerance in wheat. The findings of this study provide insights into the functional role of GD-sap in improving drought tolerance and show the potential to commercialize GD-sap as a potent biostimulant for sustainable agriculture in regions prone to drought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Abscisic acid
  • Biostimulants
  • Drought
  • Gene expression
  • Gracilaria dura
  • Triticum aestivum
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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