Adaptation Responses to Early Drought Stress ofWest Africa Sorghum Varieties

Sorghum is the fifth most important cereal crop world-wide and feeds millions of people in the Sahel. However, it often faces early-stage water deficit due to false onsets of rainy seasons resulting in production decrease. Therefore, developing early drought tolerant material becomes a necessity but requires a good knowledge of adaptation mechanisms, which remains to be elucidated. The present study aimed at assessing the effects of early drought stress on ten elite sorghum varieties tested over two years (2018–2019) at the National Agronomic Research Centre (CNRA) of Bambey (Senegal, West Africa). Two different water regimes (well-watered and drought stress) were applied during the dry season. Water stress was applied by withholding irrigation 25 days after sowing for one month, followed by optimal irrigation until maturity. Soil moisture measurements were performed and allowed to follow the level of stress (down to a fraction of transpirable soil water (FTSW) of 0.30 at the end of stress). An agro-physio-morphological monitoring was carried out during the experiment. Results showed highly significant effects of early drought stress in sorghum plants growth by decreasing leaf appearance, biomass, height but also yield set up. The combined analysis of variance revealed highly significant differences (p 0.01) between varieties in the different environments for most characters. Under water deficit, the variability was less strong on leaf appearance and plant height at the end of stress. The adaptation responses were related to the capacity of varieties to grow up fast and complete their cycle rather, increase the dead leaves weight, reduce photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance, leaf transpiration and increase the roots length density. However, varieties V1, V2, V8 and V9 showed promising behavior under stress and could be suitable for further application in West Africa for sorghum breeding and farming
Agronomy 2021, 11, 443.
early drought tolerance, early drought tolerance, photosynthesis;, physiological response, Root adaptation, Sahel, sorghum, Bassirou Sine, Vincent Vadez, Diaga Diouf, Alain Audebert
Gano, B.; Dembele, J.S.B.; Tovignan, T.K.; Sine, B.; Vadez, V.; Diouf, D.; Audebert, A. Adaptation Responses to Early Drought Stress of West Africa Sorghum Varieties. Agronomy 2021, 11, 443. https://