A comparison of two methods of inducing water stress in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)
The aim of this study was to compare the withholding of water and the use of polyethylene glycol (PEG) as methods of inducing water stress in spring wheat cultivars (Triticum aestivum L.) grown in the Western Cape. Water stress was induced in two cultivars that had previously shown differences in drought tolerance. Proline accumulation in plants and the reduction of 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazoliumchloride (TTC) were used as indicators of water stress in the test plants. Proline accumulation proved to be a more sensitive indicator of water stress compared to TTC, showing significant increases with both the withholding of water and PEG as methods to induce water stress. Although both methods of stress induction proved to be effective, the withholding of water may be more appropriate due to the possibility of root injuries with PEG. Good control of climatic conditions and measurements of plant water potential will, however, be essential if the withholding of water is used to induce stress.