Black cumin (Nigella sativa L.) Yield Affected by Irrigation and Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria


1 Department of Agronomy, Roudehen Branch, Islamic Azad University, Roudehen , Iran

2 University of Tehran, Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Tehran, Iran


This study was conducted to assess the effects of irrigation and plant growth promoting bactera on seed yield and qualitative characteristics of Black cumin (Nigella sativa L.) at the Experimental Station of the Research Institute of Forest and Rangeland, Damavan region, Iran. A split-plot experimental design, based on Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications, was used. Irrigation treatment at three levels (normal irrigation (control), irrigation terminated at the start of budding and irrigation terminated at the start of flowering) allocated in main plots and plant growth promoting bacteria treatment at four levels (non-inoculated, seed inoculated, spraying on the plant base at stem elongation stage and seed inoculated + spraying on the plant base at stem elongation stage) were arranged in sub-plots. Measured traits were consisted of harvest index, seed yield, essential oil, carvone and thymoquinon content. Results showed that the highest harvest index (28.20%) and seed yield (722.85 kg/ha) were obtained by normal irrigation. But, irrigation terminated at the start of budding caused the maximum essential oil (0.45%), carvone (0.018 mM) and thymoquinon content (0.021mM). Applying spraying plant growth promoting bacteria on the plant base at stem elongation stage and seed inoculated + spraying on the plant base at stem elongation stage caused highest seed yield (611.59 kg/ha) and thymoquinon content (0.019 mM). Maximum essential oil (0.45%) and carvone content (0.020 mM) was obtained by seed inoculation with plant growth promoting bacteria.


1. D’Antuno LF, Moretti F, Lovato FS. Seed yield, yield components, oil content and essential oil content and composition of Nigella sativa L. and Nigella damascena L. Indus Crop Prod. 2002;15:59-69.

2. Kabiri R, Nasibi N, Farahbakhsh H. Effect of Exogenous Salicylic Acid on Some Physiological Parameters and Alleviation of Drought Stress in Nigella sativa Plant under Hydroponic Culture. Plant Prot Sci. 2014;50:43-51.

3. Siddiqui AA and Sharma PKR. Clinical importance of Nigella sativa L. a review. Hamdard Medicus. 1996;23-26.

4. Badary OA, Abdel-Naim AB, Abdel-Wahab MH, Hamada FMA. The influence of thymoquinone on doxorubicin-induced hyperlipidemic nephropathy in rats. Toxicology. 2000;143:219-226.

5. Bannayan M, Nadjafib F, Azizian M, Tabrizi L, Rastgoo M. Yield and seed quality of Plantago ovate and Nigella sativa under different irrigation treatments. Indus Crops Prod, Amsterdam. 2008;27:11-16.

6. Badary OA, Al-Shabanah OA, Nagi MN, Al-Rikabi AC, Elmazar MM. Inhibition of benzo(a)pyrene-induced forestomach carcinogenesis in mice by thymoquinone. Eur J Cancer Prev. 1999;8:435-40.

7. Ivankovic S, Stojkovic R, Jukic M, Milos M,  Jurin M. The antitumor activity of thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone in vitro and in vivo. Experi Onco. 2006;28:220-224.

8. Mozzafari FS, Ghorbanli M, Babai A, Faramarzi A. The effect of water stress on the seed oil of Nigella sativa. J Essen Oil Res. 2000;12:36-38.

9. Kolb W, Martin P. Response of plant roots to inoculation with Azospirillum brasilense and to application of indole acetic acid. In Azospirillum. III. Genetics, physiology, ecology, Eds., W. Klingmüller. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg. 1985; pp:215-221.

10. Sarig S, Blum A, Okon Y. Improvement of the water status and yield of field-grown grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) by inoculation with Azospirillum brasilense. J Agric Sci. 1988;110:271-277.

11. Naderifar M, Daneshian J. Effect of seed inoculation with Azotobacter and Azospirillum and dfifferent nitrogen levels on yield and yield components of canola (Brassica napus L.). Iranian J Plant Physiol. 2012;3:619-626.

12. Bashan Y, Holguin G. Azospirillum-plant relationships: environmental and physiological advances (1990-1996). Canadian J Microbiol. 1997;43:103-121.

13. Aliabadi FH, Valadabadi SAR, Daneshian J, Khalvati MA. Evaluation changing of essential oil of balm (Melissa officinalis L.) Under  water deficit stress conditions. J Med Plants Res. 2009;3:329–33.

14. Ludlow MM, Muchow RC. A critical evaluation of the traits for improving crop yield in water limited environments. Advanced Agro. 1990;43:107-153.

15. Akinci S, Lösel DM. Plant Water-Stress Response Mechanisms, Water Stress, Prof. Ismail Md. Mofizur Rahman (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-963-9, InTech, Available from:, 2012.

16. Ghamarnia H, Jalili Z. Water stress effects on different Black cumin (Nigella sativa L.) components in a semi-arid region. Inter J Agronom Plant Prod. 2013;4:545-554.

17. Akinci S. Physiological responses to water stress by Cucumis sativus L. and related species. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sheffield. U.K, 1997.

18. Austin RB. Prospect for improving crop production in stressful environments. Plants under stress. Biochemistry, physilogy and ecology and their application toplant improvement. (ed. by Hamyln G. Jones, T.J. Flowers, M.B. Jones). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge; 1989.  pp. 235-248.

19. Law BE, Williams M, Anthoni PM, Baldochi DD, Unsworth MH. Measuring and modelling seasonal variation of carbon dioxide and water vapour exchange of a Pinus ponderosa forest subject to soil water deficit. Global Change Biol. 2000;6:613-630.

20. Wilson KB, Baldocchi DD, Hanson PJ. Leaf age affects the seasonal pattern of photosynthetic capacity and net ecosystem exchange of carbon in a deciduous forest. Plant Cell Environ. 2001;24:571-583. 

21. Bradford KJ, Hsiao TC. Physiological responses to moderate water stress. In: Encyclopedia of plant physiology, new series, vol. 12B, Physiological plant ecology II, Water relations and carbon assimilation (ed. by O.L. Lange, P.S. Nobel, C.B. Osmond and H. Ziegler). Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 1982; pp. 263-324.

22. Timpa JD, Burke JB, Quisenberry JE, Wendt CW. Effects of water stress on the organic acid and carbohydrate compositions of cotton plants. Plant Physiol. 1986;82:724-728.

23. Akinci S, Lösel DM. The soluble sugars determination in Cucurbitaceae species under water stress and recovery periods. Adv Environ Biol. 2009;3:175-183.

24. Akinci S, Lösel DM. The effects of water stress and recovery periods on soluble sugars and starch content in cucumber cultivars. Fresen. Environ Bulletin. 2010;19:164-171. 

25. Mirsa A, Strivastava NK. Influence of water stress on Japanese mint. Journal of Herb, Spices Med Plants. 2000;1:51-58.

26. Simon JE, Reiss BD, Joly R.J, Charles DJ. Water stress induced alternations in essential oil content of sweet basil. J Essen Oil Res. 1992;1:71-75.

27. Khalid KHA. Influence of water stress on growth essential oil, and chemical composition of herbs (Ocimum sp.). Int Agrophysics. 2006;20:289-296.

28. Solinas V, Deiana S. Effect of water and nutritional conditions on the Rosmarinus officinalis L., phenolic fraction and essential oil yields. Rev Ecosys. 1996;19:189-198.

29. Sabih F, Abad Farooki AH, Ansari SR, Sharama S. Effect of water stress on growth an essential oil metabolism in Cymbopogon martinii (Palmrosa) cultivars. J Essen Oil Res. 1999;1:151-157.

30. Baeck H, Kuenwoo P, Baeck HW, Park KW. Effect of watering on growth and oil content of sweet basil (Ocimum americanum L.). Korean J. Hort Sci Technol. 2001;1:81-86.

31. Abbaszadeh B, Sharifi Ashoorabadi E, Ardakani MR, Aliabadi FH. Effect of drought stress on quantitative and qualitative of mint. Abstracts Book of 5th International Crop Science Congress & Exhibition, Korea. 2008;  p. 23.

32. Sharifi Ashoorabadi E, Matin M, Lebaschi H, Abbaszadeh B, Naderi B. Effects of water stress on quantity yield in Achillea millefolium. Abstracts Book of the First International Conference on the Theory and Practices in Biological Water Saving. 2011; p.211.

33. Taheri AM, Daneshian J, Valadabadi SAR, Aliabadi FH. Effects of water deficit and plant density on morphological characteristics of chicory (Cichorium intybus L.). Abstracts Book of 5th  International Crop Science Congress & Exhibition. 2008; p.26.

34. Rahmani N, Aliabadi Farahani H, Valadabadi SAR. Effects of nitrogen on oil yield and its component of Calendula (Calendula officinalis L.) in drought stress conditions. Abstracts Book of The world congress on medicinal and aromatic plants, South Africa. 2008; p.364.

35. Aliabadi FH, Lebaschi MH, Hamidi A. Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, phosphorus and water stress on quantity and quality characteristics of coriander. J Adv Natural Appl Sci. 2008;2:55-59.

36. Mohamed MAH, Harris PJC, Henderson J, Senatore F. Effect of drought stress on the yield and composition of volatile oils of drought tolerant and non-drought-tolerant clones of Tagetes minuta. Planta Medica.  2000;68:472-474.

37. Scalabrelli G, Saracini E, Remorini D, Massai R, Tattini M. Changes in leaf phenolic compounds in two grapevine varieties (Vitis vinifera L.) grown in different water conditions. Acta Hort. 2007;754:295-300.

38. Singh-Sangwan N, Farooqi AHA, Singh-Sangwan R. Effect of drought stress on growth and essential oil metabolism in lemon grasses. New Phytologist. 2006; 128:173- 179.

39. Bannayan M, Nadjafi F, Rastgoo M, Tabrizi L. Germination properties of some wild medicinal plants from Iran. Seed Technol. 2005; 28:80–86.

40. Karimi Yeganeh N, Zeinali H. The effect of water stress and phosphorous fertilizer on some quantitative characteristics and yield of Nigella sativa L. In: The proceedings of 11th Iranian Crop Science Congress. Environmental Science Research Institute. Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, 24-26 July, 2010.

41. Pooryoosef M, Mazaheri D, Rahimi A, Tavakoli A. The effects of different fertilizing treatments on yield and yield components of Isabgol under different irrigation treatments. In: The proceedings of 11th Iranian Crop Science Congress. Environmental Science Research Institute. Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, 24-26 July, 2010.

42. Pirzad A, Shakiba MR, Zehtab-Salmasi Z, Mohammadi A, Darvishzadeh A, Samadi A. Effect of water stress on leaf relative water content,chlorophyll, proline and soluble carbohydrates in Matricaria chamomilla L. J Med Plants Res. 2011;5:2483-2488.

43. Ahmadian A, Tavassoli A, Amiri E. The interaction effect of water stress and manure on yield components, essential oil and chemical compositions of cumin (Cuminum cyminum). African J Agric Res. 2011;6:2309- 2315.

44. Khorasaninejad S, Mousavi A, Soltanloo H, Hemmati K, Khalighi A. The effect of drought stress on growth parameters,essential oil yield and constituent of Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.). J Med Plants Res. 2011;5:5360-5365.

45. Ozturk A,  Unlukara A, Ipek A, Gurbuz B. Effects Of Salt Stress And Water Deficit On Plant Growth And Essential Oil Content Of Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis L.). Pakistan J Bot. 2004; 36(4): 787-792.

46. Iness BR, Iness JK, Ibtissem HS, Soumaya B, Ferid L, Brahim M. Effect of drought on the biochemical composition and antioxidant activities of cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) seeds. Indus Crops Prod.  2012;36:238–245.

47. Azizi M, Rezvani F, Hassan Zadeh Khayat M, Lekzian A, Nemati A. Effects of vermicompost and irrigation on morphological traits and essential oil of chamomile. Iranian J Med Plants Spices Res. 2008;24:82-93.

48. Belaqziz R, Romane A, Abbad A. Water stress effects on germination, growth and essential oil content of an endemic thyme species (Thymus maroccanus Ball.) in Morocco. J Appl Sci Res. 2009;5: 858-863.

49. Elikaei Ghanbary M, Mirhadi MJ, Shirani Rad AH, Delkhosh B. The effect of no irrigation from stem elongation on agronomic traits, seed yield and oil content of rapeseed. Plant Ecosyst. 2008;16:69-85.

50. Haj Seyed Hadi MR, Darzi MT, Riazi GH, Ghandehari Z. Effects of vermicompost and amino acids on the flower yield and essential oil production from Matricaria chamomile L. J Med Plants Res. 2001;5:5611-5617.

51. Koocheki A, Nadjafi F. The status of medicinal and aromatic plants in Iran and strategies for sustainable utilization. In: Abstract Book of the 3rd World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants for Human Welfare, February 3–7, 2003, Chaing Mai, Thailand. 2003;pp: 283.

52. Babai A. Study the effect of water stress on phenology, quantity and quality characteristics essence and oil seed of black cumin (Nigella sativa L.). MS Thesis of Plant Science. Faculty of Science, Islamic Azad University of Tehran, 1995.

53. Morgenstern E, Okon Y. The effect of Azospirillum brasilense and auxin on root morphology in seedlings of Sorghum bicolor X Sorghum sudanense. Arid Soil Res, Rehabil. 1987;1:115-127.

54. Cassel DK. Field capacity and available water capacity: 901-926, In: Klut, A., (Ed.). Method of soil analysis, Part 1. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, 1998;1358 p.

55. Mahmoodi S, Hakimian M. Fundamentals  of  soil  science.  Tehran University Publications. No. 2267. 2001; pp: 122-123.

56. SAS Inc. SAS Procedure guide. SAS Institute, Cary, C, 2012.

57 Shakiba MR, Ehdaie B, Madore MA, Waines JG. Contribution of interned reserves to grain yield in tall and semi-dwarf spring wheat. J Genetic Breeding. 1996;50:91-100.

58. Paknejad F, Jami AL-Ahmadi M, Vazan S, Ardakani MA. Effects of water stress at different growth stages on yield and water use efficiency of some wheat cultivars. Electronic Journal of Crop Production. 2009; 2:17-36.

59. Kharadi R, Upadhyaya SD, Upadhyay A, Sagar NP. Differential responses of plumbagin content in Plumbago zeylanica L. (Chitrak) under controlled water stress treatments. J Stress Physiol Biochem. 2011;7:113-121.

60. Selmar D. Potential  of  salt  and  drought  stress  to  increase  pharmaceutical  significant secondary compounds in plants. Agricu Forestry Res. 2008; 58:139-144.