The strategic role of phytohormones and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to overcome various stress conditions is gaining popularity in sustainable agricultural practices. This current study aims to investigate and identify the protective roles of 28-homobrassinolide (HBL) and Glomus versiforme
on two cucumber cultivars (salt sensitive Jinyou 1# and tolerant Chanchun mici (CCMC)) grown under saline conditions (100 mM NaCl). HBL and AMF were applied as individual and combined treatments on two cucumber cultivars and their effects were observed on the morphological growth and physiology under control and saline conditions. Findings revealed that the treated plants showed better performance under saline conditions through improved photosynthesis, leaf relative water content, and decreased electrolyte leakage in tolerant cultivar (CCMC) and to a lesser extent in sensitive (Jinyou 1#) cultivar. Comparable differences were noticed in the antioxidant enzymes activity such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and peroxidase after every 10 days in both cultivars. Treating the plants with HBL and AMF also improved the mineral uptake regulation and lowered sodium concentration in roots compared to that in the non-treated plants. Current findings suggest that the protective role of HBL and AMF involves the regulation of antioxidants and lowers the risk of ion toxicity in the cucumber and hence enhance tolerance to salinity. These results are promising, but further studies are needed to verify the crop tolerance to stress and help in sustainable agricultural production, particularly vegetables that are prone to salinity.
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