Characterization of Pearl Millet Genotypes for Aluminium Toxicity Tolerance Using Morphological Traits
Aluminum (Al) toxicity is one of the major limiting factors for wheat production on acid soils. It inhibits root cell division and elongation, thus reducing water and nutrient uptake resulting in poor plant growth and yield. Liming the soil is costly and lime takes long time to be effective. Nutrient solution screening method was used for evaluation process, where seven (7) stock solutions were prepared. Seeds were treated prior to germination with sodium hypochloride and the pre-treated pearl millet seeds were grown using completely randomized design (CRD) on shallow trays for 4 days thereafter stabilized in distilled water for a day. Initial seminal root length (ISRL) was taken and later the seed transferred to nutrient solution for 5 days (planting). After 5 days, Final Seminal Root Length (FSRL) for the controls and treatments taken. The roots were evaluated and used for phenotypic analysis to ascertain if there existed variability among the pearl millet genotypes. Phenotypic data was then subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA). The means were separated using Duncan Multiple Range Test (DMRT) at 5% level of significance. After evaluation process, genotype 6 was moderately tolerant. The fact that Al treatment decreased root growth in a variable manner among some genotypes is an indication that Al toxicity could be one of the major factors limiting pearl millet production in Kenya. The differential reduction in root growth by Al treatments shows that the pearl millet germplasm contain useful genetic diversity for tolerance to Al toxicity which can be used to improve crop yield in low soil pH.
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