Seedlings' growth in response to drought stress and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)
The aim of this work was to study the effect of the herbicide, 2,4-D on a mono- cot (Lolium temulentum Linn.) and a dicot (Raphanus sativus Linn.) in relation to drought stress, in order to elucidate if the combined treatments altered the survival of the plants. Herbicide effects were investigated on a number of plant developmental stages; germination, seedling growth, mature leaves and root function, and were combined with various water stress regimes.2,4-D did not alter the germination percentage in either species when applied singly or with polyethylene glycol (PEG) induce water stress. However, rate of seedling emergence and accumulation of chlorophyll, protein and proline were inhibited. Foliar application of 2,4-D at selective concentrations showed that in addition to induced growth distortion the herbicide reduced the survivial capacity of radish but enhanced that of rye grass to later drought stress. Analysis of the content of proline (a stress metabolite) in both species indicated that the accumulation of this compound was reduced in radish but enhanced in rye grass. In contrast, when 2,4-,VJ)&^Dlapplied via the roots, from water culture, the selectivity of effect was lost since proline accumulation was reduced in both species. Use of (^14)C-2,4-D showed that the herbicide remained in the roots when applied in water culture and that since a major response was seen in the roots this implied that some signalling was occuring between the two organs. From the results it would appear that the use of low doses of herbicides such as 2,4-D may be valuable in protecting certain plants from drought stress, whilst the susceptability of other plants could be increased hence making the herbicide more effective at low concentrations.