Exogenous Application of Melatonin Alleviates Drought Stress in Ranunculus asiaticus by Improving Its Morphophysiological and Biochemical Attributes

Eman Abdelhakim Eisa, Péter Honfi, Andrea Tilly-Mándy, Mayank Anand Gururani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Melatonin (MT) controls various physiological functions and enhances plant drought tolerance. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of exogenous MT on the morpho-physiological and biochemical attributes of Ranunculus asiaticus under normal and drought conditions. A completely randomized design was used with two factors, drought stress and MT concentration (0, 50, 100, and 200 μM), to assess the effect of foliar application of MT on R. asiaticus seedlings. The experiment was conducted with a total of two groups: the drought stress group and the control group. The foliar application of MT was carried out four times during the study period. The drought stress group exhibited considerably decreased shoot length by 26.0%, leaf number by 31.03%, leaf area by 62.2%, fresh and dry vegetative weights by 34.5% and 52.9%, respectively, total chlorophyll and carotenoid contents by 68.29% and 51.72%, respectively, and relative water content by 7.1%; early emergence of flower stalks was observed within 29 days; increased relative electrolyte leakage by 20.5% compared to well-watered plants. Conversely, the foliar application of MT notably increased growth parameters compared with their no-treatment counterparts. Foliar treatment with 200 µM MT resulted in the most significant growth response in R. asiaticus under normal and drought stress conditions. Moreover, under stressful conditions compared with no treatment, exogenously applied MT induced the appearance of flower buds 21 days early and increased relative water content by 6.4%, proline contents by 32%, and peroxidase activity by 58% while reducing electrolyte leakage by 14.3%. Regarding tolerance index percentages, higher peroxidase and proline contents indicated their suitability for use as markers for drought tolerance, supporting the effective role of exogenous MT in enhancing the adaptability of Ranunculus to drought stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number262
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • antioxidant enzyme
  • growth
  • lipid peroxidation
  • osmolyte molecule
  • pleiotropic molecule
  • water deficit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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