Interactive effects of organic fertilizers and drought stress on growth and nutrient content of brassica juncea at vegetative stage

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Sustainability (Switzerland)


With the ongoing climate change scenario and alarmingly increased land degradation, understanding complex interactions of drought stress and organic fertilizers on morpho-physiological traits and dynamics of nutrient concentration is pivotal for sustainable production leafy vegetables such as mustard (Brassica juncea). Thus, this study evaluated the effect of drought stress and organic fertilizers on B. juncea growth, physiology, and dynamics of nutrient concentration at the vegetative stage. The plants were exposed to three water stress levels (well-watered (100% field capacity, FC), mild (50% FC), and severe (25% FC) supplemented with three organic fertilizers (chitosan, ultra green, and home-grown natural vegetable foods) either individually or in combination during the vegetative growth stage. Water stress had a negative effect on growth and physiological traits, and macro-and micronutrients of mustard. However, the ameliorative effects of fertilizer application were revealed by improved plant height, leaf area, relative water content, membrane stability index, and chlorophyll content from 9.7% to 26.9%, 28% to 32.72%, 7.97% to 39.51%, 7.93% to 39.66%, and 29.68% to 56.53%, respectively. Analysis of variance revealed a significant effect of soil moisture level, fertilizer type and their interaction on content of macronutrients (Ca, K, P, N, C, S, Na, Mg) and micronutrients (Fe, Zn) in mustard leaves. However, there was no significant effect detected for Cu across all factors as well the interaction effect on Mn. Overall, our results indicated that application of organic fertilizers enables mustard plant to withstand the deleterious effect of drought stress, resulting in improved growth and physiological traits as well as leaf nutrient content.



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