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PLANT PHYSIOLOGY DIVISION

physo
DR. AISHA SHEEREN
(Head/DCS)

Vision:

Scarcity of fresh water, deteriorating water quality and soil salinity are the major growth limiting factors for agricultural productivity, food security and the sustainability of natural resources. “Salinization – the increasing amount of salt content in soil – contributes to land degradation, desertification and subsequently food insecurity.  “Soil salinity is dynamic and spreading globally in over 100 countries and no continent is completely free from it. However, the countries posses semiarid to arid climate are facing severe salinization, and this is projected to increase due to climate change and its consequences: sea level rise and rising air temperature. The major challenges under these conditions are limited water availability with poor quality that is adversely affected by excessive salts in the soil. The availability of essential nutrients, especially nitrogen and potassium limiting under these conditions for the crops growing in these adverse soils are other main constraints for agricultural development of arid and semi-arid lands, making agricultural production difficult. This prevailing situation demands adaptation of genotypes physiologically and genetically more stable under stress conditions. Cereal crops mainly wheat and rice are the main food commodities for supporting food requirements. These crops are very sensitive towards these stresses and suffer from huge annual losses in their yield and put a great impact on our national economy.

Scarcity of fresh water, deteriorating water quality and soil salinity are the major growth limiting factors for agricultural productivity, food security and the sustainability of natural resources. “Salinization – the increasing amount of salt content in soil – contributes to land degradation, desertification and subsequently food insecurity.  “Soil salinity is dynamic and spreading globally in over 100 countries and no continent is completely free from it. However, the countries posses semiarid to arid climate are facing severe salinization, and this is projected to increase due to climate change and its consequences: sea level rise and rising air temperature. The major challenges under these conditions are limited water availability with poor quality that is adversely affected by excessive salts in the soil. The availability of essential nutrients, especially nitrogen and potassium limiting under these conditions for the crops growing in these adverse soils are other main constraints for agricultural development of arid and semi-arid lands, making agricultural production difficult. This prevailing situation demands adaptation of genotypes physiologically and genetically more stable under stress conditions. Cereal crops mainly wheat and rice are the main food commodities for supporting food requirements. These crops are very sensitive towards these stresses and suffer from huge annual losses in their yield and put a great impact on our national economy.

  • Identification of stress tolerant genotypes (exotic and indigenous germplasm) through mass scale screening for enhancing crop productivity of salt prone / water deficit areas.
  • Understanding of physiological mechanisms/ traits, which confer sensitivity / tolerance for using in a breeding programme to evolve high yielding stress tolerant genotypes.
  • Exogenous application of growth regulators in different crop plants for better crop productivity under abiotic stresses.
  • Propagation of fruit retention technology.

MAN POWER

                                     DCS   (02)

                                     Dr. Aisha Shereen, DCS

                                     Dr. Ubaid-ullah Shirazi, DCS

                                     PS    (01) Mr. Muhammad Ali

                                     SS    (01)  MS. Aasma

                                     SCIENTIFIC STAFF: 07

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Three wheat genotypes found tolerant and fourteen as medium tolerant. In the field, twelve genotypes performed better at medium salinity patches (8-12 dS/m. whereas four genotypes, found tolerant at high salinity patches (12-16 dS/m).
  • Six rice genotypes under salinity stress (6 dS/m) and eight under water stress were identified as tolerant under hydroponically controlled aerobic conditions. Four rice genotypes have shown better tolerance potential for water stress under field conditions at 15 days interval irrigation.
  • Nine wheat genotypes were identified as drought tolerant (terminal drought conditions).
  • Stress related physiological responses revealed that tolerant genotypes have less reduction in leaf area and chlorophyll contents. The enhanced accumulation of proline, betaine, total sugars, potassium and restricted Na uptake were observed in stress tolerant genotypes.
  • Four Potassium responsive & efficient genotypes showed more tolerance to water stress under induced osmotic stress of 0.5 MPa (PEG-6000). These responsive and efficient genotypes may counteract drought stress more effectively under field at K0.
  • Exogenous application of growth regulators (GA-10-6, NAA-10-5) enhanced germination and grain yield of wheat cultivars under saline field conditions.

An effective and economic technology for fruit retention in mango has been developed and introduced to mango growers at different locations of Sindh. This technology proved helpful in increasing mango productivity by 15-30%.  This technology is being further extended to overcome flower/boll drop problem in chilies, tomatoes and cotton.

  • A number of woody species suited for gainful utilization of highly salt affected lands has been identified which have the potential of giving economical yields (Rs.10000/ha.).
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