Next Article in Journal
The Physical Chemistry of Pesticides in Soil and Water
Next Article in Special Issue
Nitrogen Use Efficiency and the Genetic Variation of Maize Expired Plant Variety Protection Germplasm
Previous Article in Journal
Development of a Variable Rate Chemical Sprayer for Monitoring Diseases and Pests Infestation in Coconut Plantations
Previous Article in Special Issue
Effect of Magnesium on Gas Exchange and Photosynthetic Efficiency of Coffee Plants Grown under Different Light Levels
Article Menu
Issue 11 (November) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Agriculture 2017, 7(11), 90;

Interactive Effects of N-, P- and K-Nutrition and Drought Stress on the Development of Maize Seedlings

Department of Plant Science, Technical University of Munich, Freising D-85354, Germany
Swiss College of Agriculture, Zollikofen CH-3052, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 28 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Nutrient Dynamics in Stressful Environments)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1190 KB, uploaded 30 October 2017]   |  


Global climate change is likely to increase the risk of frequent drought. Maize, as the principal global cereal, is particularly impacted by drought. Nutrient supply may improve plant drought tolerance for better plant establishment during seedling growth stages. Thus, this study investigated the interactive effects of drought and the application of the nutrients N, P and K either individually or in combination. The maize seedlings were harvested between 12 and 20 days after sowing, and the leaf area, shoot fresh and dry weight and root dry weight were determined, and shoot water content and root/shoot dry weight ratio were calculated. Among the N, P and K fertilization treatments applied individually or in combination, the results showed that there was generally a positive effect of combined NPK and/or NP nutrient supply on shoot growth such as leaf area, shoot fresh and dry weight at day 20 after sowing under both well-watered and drought conditions compared with no nutrient supply. Compared with the effect of N and P nutrient supply, it seems that K was not limiting to plant growth due to the mineralogical characteristics of the illitic-chloritic silt loam used, which provided sufficient K, even though soil tests showed a low K nutrient status. Interestingly, the root/shoot ratio remained high and constant under drought regardless of NPK application, while it decreased with NPK applications in the well-watered treatment. This suggests that the higher root/shoot ratios with N, NP, PK and NPK under drought could be exploited as a strategy for stress tolerance in crop plants. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought stress; maize; nitrogen; phosphorus; potassium; root growth; shoot growth drought stress; maize; nitrogen; phosphorus; potassium; root growth; shoot growth

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Studer, C.; Hu, Y.; Schmidhalter, U. Interactive Effects of N-, P- and K-Nutrition and Drought Stress on the Development of Maize Seedlings. Agriculture 2017, 7, 90.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Agriculture EISSN 2077-0472 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top