Subscribe Now Subscribe Today
Research Article

Effect of Some Soil Amendments and Foliar Spray of Salicylic and Ascorbic Acids on Sorghum Under Saline Calcareous Soil Conditions

Abdel-Rahaman M.A. Merwad and Mohamed K. Abdel-Fattah
Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit Linkedin StumbleUpon E-mail

A field experiment was conducted on a saline calcareous soil at El-Noubaria, near Alexandria, Egypt during the growth season of 2014 to study assess response to organic manure (chicken manure “ChM” and humic acid “HA”) and foliar sprays with salicylic acid “SA” and ascorbic acid “AA” on sorghum (Sorghum vulgare var.) sudanense regarding yield and other attributes. Treatments inducted 12 combinations of 4 organic applications (none, ChM, HA and ChM+HA) and three sprays (none, SA and AA). Main effects of organic amendment show the following order: ChM+HA>ChM>HA>Non-amended. Main effects of sprays show AA>SA>none sprayed. Regarding combination between soil amendments and antioxidants effects, data reveal the superiority of ChM+HA+AA over other all treatments.

Related Articles in ASCI
Search in Google Scholar
View Citation
Report Citation

  How to cite this article:

Abdel-Rahaman M.A. Merwad and Mohamed K. Abdel-Fattah, 2015. Effect of Some Soil Amendments and Foliar Spray of Salicylic and Ascorbic Acids on Sorghum Under Saline Calcareous Soil Conditions. International Journal of Soil Science, 10: 28-36.

DOI: 10.3923/ijss.2015.28.36

Received: November 18, 2014; Accepted: February 26, 2015; Published: March 26, 2015


Calcareous soils have CaCO3 in amount and forms that cause adverse effects to plant growth. Forms are including powders, nodules and crusts. According to FAO (1973), Tanganelli (2011), Leytem and Mikkelson (2005), calcareous soils are relatively widespread dry regions, their potential productivity is high where adequate water and nutrients can be supplied. High calcium saturation tends to keep them in well-aggregated form and favorable physical conditions. However, these soils may contain impermeable hard pans (petricalcic horizon which decreases the rhizosphere root zone of the soil. Breaking much pans by deep ploughing followed by establishment of an efficient drainage system id usually done to reclaim such soils. Furrow irrigation is usually preferred to basin irrigation for calcareous soils. On undulating lands, contour and sprinkler or drip irrigations are generally practiced. Calcareous soils generally have low organic matter content and lack nitrogen. Before planting up to application of nitrogen is done in split. Ammonium forms as well as urea should not be left on the surface of calcareous soils, since losses of ammonia through volatilization may occur, these such forms should be incorporated into the soil.

Humic acids are complex organic molecules that are formed by breakdown of organic matter. They improve soil fertility through contributions to soil stability and nutrient uptake. Humic acids are heterogeneous, ranging in colour from yellow to black, resistant to decay and may be used as a commercial products containing 44-58% C, 42-46% O, 6-8% H and 0.5-4% N as well as many other elements (Larcher, 2003). Humic substances are may be used to alleviate the negative effects of chemical fertilizers on plant growth (Ghabbour and Davies, 2001). Chemical fertilizers are expensive and harmful effects on the environment (Adediran et al., 2005), therefore addition of organic matter are recommended (Oad et al., 2004) which ensures high crop production, continuous, increase roots development and soil microorganisms activity (El-Magd et al., 2006; Ayoola and Makinde, 2009). Spraying with humic acids increase plant growth, dry matter and yield (Akinci et al., 2009; El-Ghozoli, 2003; El-Bassiony et al., 2010).

Salicylic acid acts as a potential non-enzymatic antioxidant as well as a plant growth regulator some physiological processes including photosynthesis. El-Shraiy Adwi (2004) reported that acetyl salicylic acid promoted potato plant growth, plant height and the number of leaves. Hegazi and El-Shraiy (2007) found that foliar application of salicylic acid had a positive effect on yield and vegetative parameters (plant height, leaves number, shoots and roots fresh and dry weight) of bean. El-Hak et al. (2012) sprayed salicylic acid (200 mg L-1) and humic acid at the rate of 1000 mg L-1 on cow peas with positive response.

Ascorbic acid regulates plant growth and owing to its effects on cell division and differentiation. Ahmed (1996) on lettuce, Tarraf et al. (1999) on lemongrass, found that foliar application of ascorbic acid positive effects on growth and that its plays a role in floral induction that it while Golan-Goldhirsh et al. (1995) indicated that foliar spray of soybean with ascorbic acid enhanced photosynthesis. Biacs et al. (1988) on tomato stated that sugar content increased by foliar spray of ascorbic acid.

The aim of the present study was to study the effect of humic acid and chicken manure applied through the soil and salicylic and ascorbic acids applied as foliar spray on photosynthetic pigments, nutrients uptake and other parameters on sorghum grown on calcareous saline soil.


A field experiment was conducted on a saline calcareous soil at El-Noubaria, near Alexandria, Egypt during the growth season of 2014 to study assess response to organic manure (Chicken manure “ChM” and humic acid “HA”) and foliar sprays with salicylic acid “SA” and ascorbic acids “AA” on some Sorghum vulgare var. sudanense regarding yield and other attributes. Table 1 shows some physical and chemical characteristics of the investigated soils. Soil was analyzed according to the methods described by USDA (1954).

Soil preparation for cultivation: The experimental site was ploughed and then followed by ridging up to 0.7 m between ridges which were oriented in a north-south direction. Individual plot size was 17 m2 consisting of 6 ridges of 4 m in length.

Fertilization: All plots were supplied with N, P and K. 677 kg ha-1 Nitrogen fertilizer was added in 3 equal splits (at germination, after 1st cut and 2nd cut) as ammonium sulfate (210 g N kg-1) at 476 kg N ha-1. The P and K fertilizers were added to the soil as ordinary super phosphate (65.5 g P kg-1) at 31 kg P ha-1 and potassium sulphate (410 g K kg-1) at 100 kg K ha-1 along with manures during soil preparation for cultivation.

Treatments and design: Humic Acid (HA) and chicken manure (ChM) were applied through the soil while Salicylic Acid (SA) and Ascorbic Acid (AA) were applied as foliar sprays. The experiment includes 12 representing the different combinations of four organic application (none, ChM, HA and ChM+HA) and 3 sprays (none, SA and AA). The design was a factorial randomized complete block with three replicates.

Table 1: Properties of studied soil and chicken manure (ChM)
Image for - Effect of Some Soil Amendments and Foliar Spray of Salicylic and Ascorbic Acids on Sorghum Under Saline Calcareous Soil Conditions
-: Mark refer to undetermined

Application of organic manures was 35.8 mg ha-1 for ChM and 7 kg ha-1 for HA. Characteristics of ChM shown in Table 1. Each of antioxidants of SA and AA sprayed by solutions of 2000 mg L-1 (1200 L ha-1) in each of 2 occasions (20 and 40 days) at germination, after 1st and 2nd cut.

Character studies: Three cuts were taken from the sorghum. Each cut was taken after 60 day. The following parameters were measured: Plant height, fresh weight, dry matter, nutrient uptake and photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll a and b, carotenoids) of sorghum were conducted. Plant samples taken at three different cuts and dried at 70°C until constant weight and wet digested using a mixture of HClO4 and H2SO4 for determining nutrients (Piper, 1950).


Fresh weight, dry weight and plant height: Data in Table 2 show that application of organic manures or foliar sprays with SA or AA increased of fresh weight as well as dry weight and plant height of sorghum in the three cuts. ChM+HA treatment was superior to other addition treatments. Treatments could be arranged in the following order regarding the main effects ChM+HA>ChM>HA. Superiority of ChM+HA and HA was 22.86, 13.48 and 6.53% for fresh weight and dry weight and 19.85, 14.71 and 8.10% for plant height. The main effect regarding response to foliar spray was 6.5 and 37.0% for SA and AA, respectively for dry weight. Response to fresh weight and plant height followed a similar pattern as that of the dry weight. Superiority of ChM+HA combined with AA over other all treatments occurred with all parameters.

Table 2: Effect of soil amendments and antioxidant on fresh weight, dry weight and plant height
Image for - Effect of Some Soil Amendments and Foliar Spray of Salicylic and Ascorbic Acids on Sorghum Under Saline Calcareous Soil Conditions
SA: Salicylic acid, AA: Ascorbic acid, A: Amendment effects, B: Antioxidant effects, 1st: First cut, 2nd: Second cut and 3rd: Third cut

Photosynthetic pigments of sorghum (Chlorophyll a, Chlorophyll b and Carotenoids): Data in Table 3 show effect of soil amendments, ChM and HA with or without antioxidants, SA and AA on photosynthetic pigments of sorghum. Data indicated that the photosynthetic pigments followed a rather similar pattern as that of the growth parameters. All soil amendments increased Chlorophyll a, Chlorophyll b and Carotenoids of sorghum compared with untreated one. Treatments could be arranged as following order ChM+HA>ChM>HA. Spray with AA was superior to that of SA. The treatment which gave the highest response was that of ChM+HA combined with a foliar spray with AA.

NPK uptake by sorghum plant: Data in Table 4 show effect of ChM and HA combined with or without SA and AA on NPK uptake by sorghum. All treatments receiving any or more combinations of the added material showed higher uptake of N, P and K. effect of ChM showed average uptake greater than HA. The mixture of ChM+HA gave higher uptake than each individually. The main effect of treatments of ChM and HA show the following order: ChM+HA>ChM>HA. Respective increases were as follows: 54.3, 36.6 and 15.9% for N uptake; 65.4, 36.0 and 13.4% for P uptake and 65.7, 52.9 and 24.3% for K uptake.

Table 3: Effect of soil amendments and antioxidant on some photosynthetic pigments of sorghum
Image for - Effect of Some Soil Amendments and Foliar Spray of Salicylic and Ascorbic Acids on Sorghum Under Saline Calcareous Soil Conditions
SA: Salicylic acid, AA: Ascorbic acid, A: Amendment effects, B: Antioxidant effects, 1st: First cut, 2nd: Second cut, 3rd: Third cut

The main effect of foliar spray was AA>AS>non-sprayed. Increases due to AA and SA averaged 66.2 and 20.1%, respectively for N uptake. Relative increases for P uptake were 59.2 and 11.1%; increases for K uptake were 83.6 and 27.5%. Highest uptake obtained by the treatment of ChM+HA combined with AA spray.

Previous results can be explained as follows: Chicken manure treatments gave the highest response and increasing the yield of fresh and dry matter compared to the control. These responses may refer to its high content of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (Schlegel, 1992). Another explanation may be due to the effect of chicken manure on soil fertility. This is in agreement with that of Mullins et al. (2002) who reported that potential uses for poultry manure as a fertilizer and soil amendment. On the other hand, Mullins et al. (2002) reported that poultry litter contains, a considerable amount of organic matter, hence have an impact on soil pH and liming due to varying amount of calcium carbonate in poultry feed. Ahmed and Mahmoud (2010) found that organic matter decomposition improved the physical and chemical proprieties of the soil. Regarding humic acid, humic acid and humic substances increase cation exchange capacity and enhances soil fertility, converting the mineral elements into forms available to plants (Yilmaz, 2007; Tipping, 2002; Kulikova et al., 2005; Stevenson, 1994).

Table 4: Effect of soil amendments and antioxidant on nitrogen, phosphor and potassium uptake by sorghum
Image for - Effect of Some Soil Amendments and Foliar Spray of Salicylic and Ascorbic Acids on Sorghum Under Saline Calcareous Soil Conditions
SA: Salicylic Acid, AA: Ascorbic Acid, A: Amendment effects, B: Antioxidant effects, 1st: First cut, 2nd: Second cut and 3rd: Third cut

Humic acids show a sponge-like tampon character affecting pH levels in soil causing many micronutrients become available to plant (Yilmaz, 2007). They can break the bonds between phosphate and iron ions in acid soils and in calcium and iron ions in alkaline soils (Stevenson, 1994).

Amutha et al. (2007) reported that foliar spray of salicylic acid at 0.1% on sunflower increased yield of seeds on head diameter and work by Shehata et al. (2001), El-Wahed et al. (2006), Shakirova et al. (2003) and Iqbal and Ashraf (2006) indicated positive effects by salicylic acid foliar spray on maize and wheat. Salicylic acid plays a role in plant defense mechanisms to pathogen attack by inhibition of catalase, resulting in elevated levels of H2O2, thus activating defense related genes and ascorbate peroxidase enzyme for scavenging H2O2 (Durner and Klessig, 1995). Singh et al. (2006) on cassia august (Talaat, 2003) on sweet pepper reported that foliar spray with ascorbic acid increased NPK uptake. Other investigators recorded similar effects of vitamin C on potato (El-Banna et al., 2006), pepper (Shehata et al., 2002) and on pea plants (Helal et al., 2005).


A field experiment was conducted on a saline calcareous soil to study assess response to organic manure (chicken manure “ChM” and humic acid “HA”) and foliar sprays with salicylic acid “SA” and ascorbic acids “AA” on pant growth, photosynthetic pigments and NPK uptake of Sorghum vulgare var. sudanense. Efficiency of amendment showed the following average response ChM+HA>ChM>HA. The average efficiency regarding foliar spray was AA>SA. Highest treatment combination was ChM+HA combined with AA.


1:  Abdel-Wahed, M.S.A., A.A. Amin and S.M. El-Rashad, 2006. Physiological effect of some bioregulators on vegetative growth, yield and chemical constituents of yellow maize plants. World J. Agric. Sci., 2: 149-153.
Direct Link  |  

2:  Abou El-Magd, M.M., A.M. El-Bassiony and Z.F. Fawzy, 2006. Effect of organic manure with or without chemical fertilizers on growth, yield and quality of some varieties of broccoli plants. J. Applied Sci. Res., 2: 791-798.
Direct Link  |  

3:  Adediran, J.A., L.B. Taiwo, M.O. Akande, R.A. Sobulo and O.J. Idowu, 2005. Application of organic and inorganic fertilizer for sustainable maize and cowpea yields in Nigeria. J. Plant Nutr., 27: 1163-1181.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

4:  Akinci, S., T. Buyukkeskin, A. Eroglu and B.E. Erdogan, 2009. The effect of humic acid on nutrient composition in broad bean (Vicia faba L.) roots. Not. Sci. Biol., 1: 81-87.
Direct Link  |  

5:  Amutha, R., S. Muthulaksmi, W.B. Rani, K. Indira and P. Mareeswari, 2007. Alle-viation of high temperature stress in sun-flower (Helianthus annus L.) by plant growth regulators and chemicals. Res. J. Agric. Biol. Sci., 3: 1658-1662.

6:  Ayoola, O.T. and E. Makinde, 2009. Maize growth, yield and soil nutrient changes with N-enriched organic fertilizers. Afr. J. Food Agric. Nutr. Dev., 9: 580-592.
Direct Link  |  

7:  Biacs, P.A., H.G. Daood, B. Czinkotai, F. Hajdu and N. Kiss-Kutz, 1988. Effect of titavit treatment on the dynamics of tomato fruit ripeness. Acta Horticulturae, 220: 433-438.
Direct Link  |  

8:  Ahmed, M.E.N. and F.A. Mahmoud, 2010. Effect of irrigation on consumptive use, water use efficiency and crop coefficient of sesame (Sesamum indicum L.). J. Agric. Extension Rural Dev., 2: 59-63.
Direct Link  |  

9:  El-Banna, E.N., S.A. Ashour and H.Z. Abd-El-Salam, 2006. Effect of foliar application with organic compounds on growth, yield and tubers quality of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). J. Agric. Sci. Mansoura Univ., 31: 1165-1173.
Direct Link  |  

10:  El-Bassiony, A.M., Z.F. Fawzy, M.A. El-Baky and R.M. Asmaa, 2010. Response of snap bean plants to mineral fertilizers and humic acid application. Res. J. Agric. Biol. Sci., 6: 169-175.
Direct Link  |  

11:  El-Ghozoli, M.A., 2003. Influence of humic acid on faba bean plants grown in cadmium polluted soil. Ann. Agric. Sci. Moshtohor, 41: 1787-1800.

12:  El-Shraiy Adwi, A.M., 2004. Physiological studies on dormancy and sprouting in storage organs of potato and onion plants. Ph.D. Thesis, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

13:  FAO., 1973. Soils bulletin 21-calcareous soils: Report of the FAO/UNDP regional seminar on reclamation and management of calcareous soils, Cairo, Egypt, November 27-December 2, 1972. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.

14:  El-Hak, S.H.G., A.M. Ahmed and Y.M.M. Moustafa, 2012. Effect of foliar application with two antioxidants and humic acid on growth, yield and yield components of peas (Pisum sativum L.). J. Hortic. Sci. Ornamental Plants, 4: 318-328.
Direct Link  |  

15:  Ghabbour, E.A. and G. Davies, 2001. Humic Substances: Structures, Models and Functions. Royal Society of Chemistry, England, ISBN: 9780854048113, Pages: 387

16:  Golan‐Goldhirsh, A., A. Mozafar and J.J. Oertli, 1995. Effect of ascorbic acid on soybean seedlings grown on medium containing a high concentration of copper. J. Plant Nutr., 18: 1735-1741.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

17:  Ahmed, A.H.H., 1996. Physiological studies on tipburn and nitrate accumulation in lettuce plants. J. Agric. Sci., 21: 3971-3994.

18:  Hegazi, A.M. and A.M. El-Shraiy, 2007. Impact of salicylic acid and paclobutrazol exogenous application on the growth, yield and nodule formation of common bean. Aust. J. Basic Applied Sci., 1: 834-840.
Direct Link  |  

19:  Helal, F.A., S.T. Farag and S.A. El-Sayed, 2005. Studies on growth, yield and its components and chemical composition under effect of vitamin C, vitamin B1, boric acid and sulphur on pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants. J. Agric. Sci. Mansoura Univ., 30: 3343-3353.

20:  Iqbal, M. and M. Ashraf, 2006. Wheat seed priming in relation to salt tolerance: Growth, yield and levels of free salicylic acid and polyamines. Ann. Bot. Fennici, 43: 250-259.
Direct Link  |  

21:  Durner, J. and D.F. Klessig, 1995. Inhibition of ascorbate peroxidase by salicylic acid and 2, 6-dichloroisonicotinic acid, two inducers of plant defense responses. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA., 92: 11312-11316.
Direct Link  |  

22:  Kulikova, N.A., E.V. Stepanova and O.V. Koroleva, 2005. Mitigating Activity of Humic Substances: Direct Influence on Biota. In: Use of Humic Substances to Remediate Polluted Environments: From Theory to Practice, Perminova, I.V., K. Hatfield and N. Hertkorn (Eds.). Chapter 14, Springer, Netherlands, ISBN: 978-1-4020-3250-9, pp: 285-309

23:  Larcher, W., 2003. Physiological Plant Ecology: Ecophysiology and Stress Physiology of Functional Groups. 4th Edn., Springer, New York, ISBN: 9783540435167, Pages: 513

24:  Leytem, A.B. and R.L. Mikkelson, 2005. The nature of phosphorus in calcareous soils. Better Crops, 89: 11-13.
Direct Link  |  

25:  Mullins, G.L., E.S. Bendfeldt and R.A. Clark, 2002. Poultry litter as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Technical Publication No. 424-034, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia State University, Blacksburg, VA., USA., January 2002.

26:  Oad, F.C., U.A. Buriro and S.K. Agha, 2004. Effect of organic and inorganic fertilizer application on maize fodder production. Asian J. Plant Sci., 3: 375-377.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

27:  Piper, C.S., 1950. Soil and Plant Analysis. Inter Science Publishers, New York, USA

28:  Schlegel, A.J., 1992. Effect of composted manure on soil chemical properties and nitrogen use by grain sorghum. J. Prod. Agric., 5: 153-157.
CrossRef  |  

29:  Shakirova, F.M., A.R. Sakhabutdinova, M.V. Bezrukova, R.A. Fatkhutdinova and D.R. Fatkhutdinova, 2003. Changes in the hormonal status of wheat seedlings induced by salicylic acid and salinity. Plant Sci., 164: 317-322.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

30:  Shehata, S.A.M., S.I. Ibrahim and S.A.M. Zaghlool, 2001. Physiological response of flag leaf and ears of maize plant induced by foliar application of kinetin (kin) and Acetyl Salicylic Acid (ASA). Ann. Agric. Sci. Ain Shams Univ. (Egypt), 46: 435-449.

31:  Shehata, S.M., Y.I. Helmy and W.A. El-Tohamy, 2002. Pepper plants as affected by foliar application with some chemical treatments under later summer conditions. Egypt J. Applied Sci., 17: 236-248.

32:  Singh, D.V., G.C. Srivastava and M.Z. Abdin, 2006. Amelioration of negative effect of water stress in Cassia angustifolia by benzyladenine and/or ascorbic acid. Biologia Plantarum, 44: 141-143.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

33:  Stevenson, F.J., 1994. Humusp Chemistry Genesis, Composition, Reactions. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA., ISBN:13- 9780471594741, Pages: 496

34:  Talaat, N.B., 2003. Physiological studies on the effect of salinity, ascorbic acid and Putrescine of sweet pepper plant. Ph.D. Thesis, Cairo University, Egypt

35:  Tanganelli, K.M., 2011. Sequential fractionation and water soluble phosphorus methods to investigate soil phosphorus in a long-term manure application. M.Sc. Thesis, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma, USA.

36:  Tarraf, S.A., K.M.G. El-Din and L.K. Balbaa, 1999. The response of vegetative growth, essential oil of lemongrass to foliar applica-tion of ascorbic acid, micotinamid and some micronutrients. Arabian Univ. J. Agric. Sci., 7: 247-259.

37:  Tipping, E., 2002. Cation Binding by Humic Substances. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK., ISBN: 9781139433211, Pages: 434

38:  USDA., 1954. Diagnosis and Improvement of Saline and Alkali Soils. Handbook No. 60, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC., USA

39:  Yilmaz, C., 2007. [Humic and fulvic acid]. J. Hasad Plant Prod., 260: 74-74, (In Turkish).

©  2021 Science Alert. All Rights Reserved