6.INFLUENCE OF WATER STRESS ON MORPHO-PHYSIOLOGICAL AND BIOCHEMICAL ASPECTS OF MEDICINAL PLANT STEVIA REBAUDIANA By SHILPI SRIVASTAVA AND MALVIKA SRIVASTAVA
The effect of water stress on the morpho-physiological and biochemical aspects of Stevia rebaudiana was investigated under pot grown conditions. Potted plants of Stevia were subjected to different water regimes (100 ml, 200 ml, and 300 ml), control plants were watered daily with 400 ml water. Response mechanism of Stevia plants to water stressed conditions was studied in terms of number of leaves, leaf area index, chlorophyll content, leaf relative water content, biomass, amino acid content, and reducing sugar content. Results indicated that Stevia plants expressed differential response to water deficit on the basis of severity of stress and age/plant growth. The leaf relative water content, leaf area index, number of leaves, chlorophyll content and biomass were severely affected (decreased) under stressed conditions. A sharp increase in total amino acid content and sugar content was observed in stressed plants as compared to the untreated (control) plants.
KEYWORDS: Water stress, Stevia, biomass, sugar content.
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