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A Novel Aspect of Essential Oils: Coating Seeds with Thyme Essential Oil induces Drought Resistance in Wheat

Laboratory of Genetics and Plant Breeding, National Institute of Agronomy of Tunis, 43, Av Charles Nicolle, Tunis 1082, Tunisia
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany
Departament de Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals, Secció de Fisiologia Vegetal, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Faculty of Agriculture, Damascus University, Damascus 306, Syria
Centre of Biotechnology of Borj Cedria, Laboratory of Bioactive Substances, BP 901, Hammam-Lif 2050, Tunisia
Section of Plant Physiology, University of Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
AGROTECNIO (Center of Research in Agrotechnology), University of Lleida, 25198 Lleida, Spain
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2019, 8(10), 371;
Received: 28 June 2019 / Revised: 8 August 2019 / Accepted: 20 August 2019 / Published: 25 September 2019
Coating seeds with biostimulants is among the promising approaches in crop production to increase crop tolerance to drought stress. In this study, we evaluated the potential of coating durum wheat seeds of the cultivar ‘Karim’ with thyme essential oil on enhancing seed germination and seedling growth, and on plant growth promotion and induction of drought resistance. Coated seeds were pre-germinated, grown in hydroponics, and grown in pots under controlled well-watered and progressive water/nutrient stress conditions. Seed coating with thyme oil increased germination rate and enhanced seedling growth development in hydroponics. In the pot experiment, thyme oil increased, when well watered, root and shoot development, chlorophyll, nitrogen balance index (NBI), abscisic acid (ABA), anthocyanins and flavonoids in leaves, decreased nitrogen isotope composition (δ15N) and increased carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of shoots. Increasing water/nutrient stress in control plants induced higher accumulation of ABA and anthocyanins coupled with a transient decrease in chlorophyll and NBI, a decrease in shoot and root development, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), shoot C content, δ15N, and an increase in δ13C, revealing the avoidance strategy adopted by the cultivar. Thyme oil had the potential to enhance the avoidance strategy by inducing roots elongation, reducing the loss of shoot and roots dry matter and chlorophyll, maintaining balanced NBI, an decreasing anthocyanins, flavonoids, and δ13C via maintaining lower ABA-mediated-stomatal closure. Thyme oil increased shoot N content and δ15N indicating preferential uptake of the 15N enriched NH4+. Coating seeds with thyme oil is suggested as a promising alternative approach to improve plant’s water and nutrient status and to enhance drought resistance. View Full-Text
Keywords: thyme essential oil; coating; drought; wheat; resistance; isotope thyme essential oil; coating; drought; wheat; resistance; isotope
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Ben-Jabeur, M.; Vicente, R.; López-Cristoffanini, C.; Alesami, N.; Djébali, N.; Gracia-Romero, A.; Serret, M.D.; López-Carbonell, M.; Araus, J.L.; Hamada, W. A Novel Aspect of Essential Oils: Coating Seeds with Thyme Essential Oil induces Drought Resistance in Wheat. Plants 2019, 8, 371.

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