In Pakistan, the third main cereal crop is maize but it faces salinity stress on a large scale. The exogenous Benzoic acid is considered a potential strategy to ameliorate the salinity stress. A field trial was carried out at Warehouse of SARC, ISES, Saline Agriculture Research Center, University of Agriculture, and Faisalabad during Kharif season, 2019 to explore the role of foliar-applied benzoic acid on the growth of spring-planted maize. The treatments of the trial comprised of Salinity stress (control, 6 dS/m, and 12 dS/m) and Benzoic acid (control, 0.5 mM and 1 mM) in pots. Fishers analysis of variance technique for the data analysis was used with the Least Significant Difference test (LSD) to find the differences among treatment means. Data related to agronomic and chlorophyll related traits under the salinity stress through applying benzoic acid were recorded following standard protocols. The agronomical parameters were measured, whereas, chlorophyll through Green seekerTM and SPAD-chlorophyll. The results were found significant for various agronomic traits including plant height, leaf length, root length, inter-nodal length, shoot length, root dry weight, and shoot dry weight, leaf area. Our study concludes that the growth of maize is inhibited by the salinity in the medium of growth and by foliar application of benzoic acid; the harmful effects on the biomass of growth and contents of chlorophyll were mitigated. Thus, we might conclude that in salt stress, foliar application of benzoic acid had stimulatory effects on maize crop.
Key words: Benzoic acid, salinity, maize, chlorophyll, growth