Morpho-physiological studies on moisture deficit stress tolerance in F2:3 population of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.)
Moisture deficit stress is a major abiotic factor affecting muskmelon quality and productivity globally. Here we have examined the response of morpho-physiological traits under moisture deficit stress condition in muskmelon parental lines viz., Durgapur Madhu (DM) and BS25 along with F2:3 population derived from their cross for contrasting stress tolerance traits. Moisture stress reduced relative water content significantly (p < 0.01) with variation recorded among population lines. We observed that relative water content showed significant positive correlation (r = 0.34) with proline. A significantly increased value of the proline content (8.68 µg/gm), membrane stability index (27.11 mS/cm) and leaf area (24.43 cm2) were observed in BS25 compared to DM genotype. Some population lines such as L8, L10, L83, L16, L21, L54, and L63 showed significantly higher values for proline content and relative water content in moisture stress condition. We observed variability for different traits in the F2:3 population that allowed selection of individual lines with possibly greater potential of moisture stress tolerance, which can be useful in future breeding programs in muskmelon
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