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Wheat is the most important cereal crop; it is staple diet for more than one third of the world population. Wheat production is influenced by several harsh environmental stresses that adversely affect its growth, metabolism and yield. Among them, Drought stress is the main factor limiting the productivity of wheat crop worldwide. Plants experience drought stress either when the water supply to roots becomes difficult or when the transpiration rate becomes very high. These two conditions often coincide under arid and semi-arid climates. Eighty percent area of Pakistan comes under arid and semi-arid region, so wheat productivity is adversely reduced in these areas due to lack of rain fall. Wheat yield under drought stress can be improved by several methods like conventional breeding, genetic transformation and marker assisted selection. For applying any of these methods, a close scans of morphological and physio-biochemical parameters are necessary. In the present study with 92 genotypes, a decrease of 35.57% for relative water content and 23.08% was observed for chlorophyll content in the stressed conditions. And an increase in metabolite level such as sugar (28.86%), SOD (4.53%) and canopy temperature (20.38%) was observed in moisture stress. Various genotypes have been identified which can be used further in plant breeding systems.
Keywords: Wheat; Drought; Genotypes; Physio-biochemical; Metabolites