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A field study was conducted during 2015–۲۰۱۷ in order to evaluate effects of the foliar application of different sources and concentrations of zinc oxide (ZnO) on the yield and morpho-physiological characteristics of saffron. Experimental treatment included the foliar application of nano ZnO at a concentration of (3, 6, and 9 g L−۱), foliar application of normal ZnO at a concentration of (3, 6, and 9 g L−۱) and the control. Both types of ZnO had positive effects on the saffron yield and number of flowers, but the highest yield and flower number were obtained by the foliar application of 9 g L−۱ normal ZnO followed by 6 g L−۱ nano ZnO.

Increasing concentrations of both fertilizers up to 3 g L−۱ had no significant effect on crocin, but the crocin content significantly decreased at higher concentrations. Effects of experimental treatments were significant on all morpho-physiological traits. The maximum chlorophyll a (۱٫۷۴ mg.g−۱) was observed in normal ZnO at a concentration of 9 g L−۱ followed by nano ZnO at a concentration of 3 g L−۱. The increasing application of different types of fertilizers linearly increased the Peroxidase activity, but the highest activity of Catalase in normal ZnO and nano ZnO was measured after the foliar application at concentrations of 3 and 6 g L−۱, respectively.


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