Wheat is an important cereal crop worldwide that often suffers from moisture deficits at the reproductive stage. Polyethylene glycol (PEG)-treated hydroponic conditions create negative osmotic potential which is compared with moisture deficit stress. An experiment was conducted in a growth chamber to study the effects of PEG on root hair morphology and associated traits of wheat varieties. Plants of 13 wheat varieties were grown hydroponically and three different doses of PEG 6000 (w
): 0% (control), 0.3% and 0.6% (less than −1 bar) were imposed on 60 days after sowing for 20 days’ duration. A low PEG concentration was imposed to observe how initial low moisture stress might affect root hair development. PEG-treated hydroponic culture significantly decreased root hair diameter and length. Estimated surface area reduction of root hairs at the main axes of wheat plants was around nine times at the 0.6% PEG level compared to the control plants. Decrease in root hair diameter and length under PEG-induced culture decreased “potential” root surface area per unit length of main root axis. A negative association between panicle traits, length and dry weight and the main axis length of young roots indicated competition for carbon during their development. Data provides insight into how a low PEG level might alter root hair development.
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