Assessment of drought tolerance of eight varieties of common winter wheat – a comparative study

Zlatina Uhr1#, Anelia Dobrikova2#, Preslava Borisova2, Ekaterina Yotsova2, Evgeny Dimitrov1, Radoslav Chipilsky1 and Antoaneta V. Popova2
ORCID 0000-0002-7326-3771
ORCID 0000-0002-8120-7083
1 Agricultural Academy, Institute of Plant Genetic Resources “Konstantin Malkov”, 4122 Sadovo, Bulgaria
2 Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
# The first and the second authors to be considered first author


Uhr, Z., Dobrikova, A., Borisova, P., Yotsova, E., Dimitrov, E., Chipilsky, R. &. Popova, A. V. (2022). Assessment of drought tolerance of eight varieties of common winter wheat – a comparative study. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 28 (4), 668–676

The ability of eight Bulgarian common winter wheat varieties (Sadovska belya, Lusil, Diamant, Bononia, Tsarevets, Niky, Guinness and Petya) to tolerate drought stress as well as to recover after re-watering were evaluated by following the alterations in the leave pigment content, generation of hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxidation, and levels of synthesized protective substances (anthocyanins). These parameters were used as fast and sensitive stress markers to assess varieties` susceptibility to drought. Results presented indicated that on the 7th day of dehydration alteration in the photosynthetic pigment content occurred as indicated by the decreased chlorophyll to carotenoid ratio showing that the amount of total chlorophylls was changed to a higher extent than that of carotenoids. Data demonstrated that the amount of stress-generated hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) was highest in Guinness, followed by Petya, Lusil and Tsarevets. The extend of membrane damage evidenced by the degree of dehydration-induced lipid peroxidation was highest in varieties Sadovska belya, Petya and Tsarevets. Furthermore, all investigated varieties responded to drought stress by increased synthesis of anthocyanins. Our results also suggested that varieties Guinness and Diamant were suitable for growing in areas with limited water availability as they have a good drought stress resistance and recovery capacity.

Keywords: wheat variety; drought stress; photosynthetic pigments; oxidative stress; anthocyanins; recovery

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