2024 : 5 : 19
Mahdi Bikdeloo

Mahdi Bikdeloo

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3048-1066
Education: PhD.
ScopusId: 57217592073
Faculty: Agriculture and Environment
Address: Arak University


Morphological and Physio-Biochemical Responses of Watermelon Grafted onto Rootstocks of Wild Watermelon [Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad] and Commercial Interspecific Cucurbita Hybrid to Drought Stress
Citrullus colocynthis; rootstocks; grafting; drought tolerance; MDA; antioxidant enzymes
Journal Horticulturae
Researchers Mahdi Bikdeloo ، Giuseppe Colla ، Youssef Rouphael ، Mohammad Reza Hassandokht ، Foruzandeh Soltani ، reza Salehi Mohammadi ، Pradeep Kumar ، Mariateresa Cardarelli


This study aimed to assess the morphological and physio-biochemical responses of a commercial watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. and Nakai) cv. ‘Crimson Sweet’ grafted onto a drought-tolerant rootstock of wild watermelon (bitter apple, Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad, ‘Esfahan’) in comparison with an ungrafted ‘Crimson Sweet’ watermelon or one grafted onto a commercial interspecific Cucurbita hybrid (Cucurbita maxima Duch. × Cucurbita moschata Duch.) rootstock (‘Shintoza’) under water stress. The experiment was conducted in pots under a controlled environment in a greenhouse, and water stress was imposed by maintaining moisture level in pots at 100% (well water (WW)) or 50% (water deficit (WD)) of container capacity (CC). WD significantly decreased most of the morphological traits in ungrafted and grafted plants, while the decrease in growth traits was lower in grafted plants than ungrafted plants. The response of grafted plants onto wild watermelon rootstock (‘Esfahan’) for most of the affected parameters (shoot fresh and dry weight, vine length and internodal length) was, however, comparable to those grafted onto commercial Cucurbita hybrid rootstock (‘Shintoza’). Plants grafted onto bitter apple (wild watermelon) exhibited a relatively lower decrease in growth and biomass, besides showing higher antioxidant activity (e.g., guaiacol peroxidase) concomitant with the lower accumulation of malondialdehyde and electrolyte leakage in the leaf tissues in comparison with ungrafted plants. The overall growth performance, as well as those under water stress conditions in commercial rootstock-grafted watermelon, was related to its better plant water status (e.g., high relative water content) which was likely ascertained by its greater root efficiency. This suggests that watermelons grafted onto bitter apple rootstock and Cucurbita hybrid rootstock were constitutively more re-sistant to drought, with higher efficiency in mitigating oxidative stress than ungraft