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Plasma Sci. Technol. ›› 2018, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (3): 035505.doi: 10.1088/2058-6272/aa9b27

• Plasma Technology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of cold plasma treatment on alfalfa seed growth under simulated drought stress

Jinkui FENG (冯金奎)1,Decheng WANG (王德成)1, Changyong SHAO (邵长勇)1,2 , Lili ZHANG (张丽丽)2 and Xin TANG (唐欣)3   


  1. 1 College of Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 10083, People’s Republic of China 2 Shandong Province Seeds Group Co., Ltd, Jinan 250100, People’s Republic of China 3 Shandong Agriculture and Engineering University, Jinan 250100, People’s Republic of China
  • Received:2017-08-25 Published:2017-11-16
  • Supported by:

    This work was supported by China Agriculture Research System (CARS-34).


The effect of different cold plasma treatments on the germination and seedling growth of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) seeds under simulated drought stress conditions was investigated. Polyethyleneglycol-6000 (PEG 6000)with the mass fraction of 0% (purified water), 5%, 10%, and 15% were applied to simulate the drought environment. The alfalfa seeds were treated with 15 different power levels ranged between 0–280 W for 15 s. The germination potential, germination rate, germination index, seedling root length, seedling height, and vigor index were investigated. Results indicated significant differences between treated with proper power and untreated alfalfa seeds. With the increase of treatment power, these indexes mentioned above almost presented bimodal curves. Under the different mass fractions of PEG 6000, results showed that the lower power led to increased germination, and the seedlings presented good adaptability to different drought conditions. Meanwhile, higher power levels resulted in a decreased germination rate. Seeds treated with 40 W resulted in higher germination potential, germination rate, seedling height, root length, and vigor index. Vigor indexes of the treated seeds under different PEG 6000 stresses increased by 38.68%, 43.91%, 74.34%, and 39.20% respectively compared to CK0-0,CK5-0,CK10-0, and CK15-0 (the control sample under 0%, 5%, 10%, and 15% PEG 6000). Therefore, 40 W was regarded as the best treatment in this research. Although the trend indexes of alfalfa seeds treated with the same power were statistically the same under different PEG 6000 stresses, the cold plasma treatment had a significant effect on the adaptability of alfalfa seeds in different drought environments. Thus, this kind of treatment is worth implementing to promote seed growth under drought situations.

Key words: cold plasma, alfalfa, PEG 6000 stress, germination, seedling, plant growth