Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol.   p.  
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2021.0018

MORPHO-PHYSIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF OIL PALM (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) SEEDLINGS EXPOSED TO SIMULATED DROUGHT CONDITIONS

Author(s): IKHAJIAGBE, B*; AITUAE, W** and OGWU, M C‡

Elaeis guineensis Jacq. (oil palm) production is threatened by drought due to climate change and anthropogenic deforestation. This study aims to understand how drought conditions contribute to changes in foliar nitrate-nitrogen concentration as well as the effects on the growth and development of oil palm seedlings. Seventy oil palm seedlings were maintained in a screen house and subjected to simulated drought conditions. There was a significant reduction in the number of leaves with increased drought exposure from 10 to four per plant. Oil palm leaves exposed to higher drought levels had less broad leaves, with leaf area ranging from 133.25-172.22 cm2 compared to the control (383.73 cm2). The foliar yield per plant was low in plants exposed to extreme drought condition (2.27 g), compared to 71.98 g in the control. Moreover, total drought-exposed oil palm seedlings had the highest concentration of nitrate-nitrogen. E. guineensis exposed to no-drought conditions had more roots (18 roots) than those exposed to total or partial drought (6-10 roots per plant). Overall, there was a decrease in height, leaf area and the number of leaves for most of the seedlings exposed to drought condition, which might be detrimental to their photosynthetic ability and growth.

Keywords: , , ,

Author Information
* Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Benin, Ugbowo, Benin City PMB 1154, Nigeria.

** Physiology Division, Nigeria Institute for Oil Palm Research, Benin City, Nigeria.

‡ School of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Camerino – Center for Floristic Research of the Apennine, Gran Sasso and Monti Della Laga National Park, San Colombo, 67021 Barisciano, L’Aquila, Italy.
E-mail: matthew.ogwu@uniben.edu


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