Physiological Efficiency of Small Millets under Drought Condition


      An experiment was conducted to study the physiological and biochemical traits contributing for better yield under reproductive stage drought in selected small millets viz., finger millet (CO 15), little millet (CO 4) and barnyard millet (CO 2). Drought was imposed during flowering stage of the crops by withholding irrigation till the soil moisture reaches below 20 per cent. The physiological parameters considered as indicators of drought tolerance viz., LA, LAI, LAD, NAR, soluble protein content and NR (Nitrate Reductase) activity measured during drought at reproductive stage depicted the relative ability of small millets to endure the water stress. Among the small millets, barnyard millet recorded the highest values for growth attributes such as LA (561.10 cm2 plant-1), LAI (2.24), NAR (1.52 mg g-1 day-1) and LAD (53.63 days) under stress at reproductive stage. Drought stress imposed at reproductive stage had an adverse effect on soluble protein content with considerable reduction in all small millets. Among them, barnyard millet recorded the highest soluble protein content (9.35 mg g-1) but the lowest reduction in soluble protein content due to water stress. Similar trend was observed for NR activity also.
Key Words: Small millets, Physiological parameters, Growth attributes, NR activity