Application of salt stress (100 mM) through root growing medium caused a considerable decrease in plant fresh and dry biomass, maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm), chlorophyll contents, leaf water potential, and leaf Ca, K, P and N concentrations of two maize cultivars (Apex 836 and DK 5783). However, salt-induced increase was observed in leaf osmolality (LO), proline, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), malondialdehyde (MDA), Na+ concentration and activities of enzymatic antioxidants, such as catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Of five humic acid (HA) levels used under non-stress and stress conditions in an initial experiment, 100 mg L−1 was chosen for subsequent studies. Exogenous application of humic acid (HA) at the rate of 100 mM as a foliar or pre-sowing seed treatment significantly increased the plant biomass, Fv/Fm, chlorophyll pigments and proline contents, while it considerably reduced the leaf water potential, H2O2 and MDA contents as well as the activities of all the afore-mentioned enzymatic antioxidants. Of both modes of exogenous treatment, foliar spray was better in improving plant biomass, chlorophyll contents, LO, leaf Na+ as well as the accumulation of all nutrients measured, however, in contrast, seed pre-treatment was more effective in altering leaf proline, H2O2 and MDA contents. Of both maize cultivars, cv. DK 5783 excelled in plant biomass, chlorophyll contents and leaf N, Ca and K concentrations as well as in the activities of all three antioxidant enzymes, whereas cv. Apex 836 was superior in leaf Na+ and P concentrations, H2O2 and MDA contents. Cv. DK 5783 was comparatively better in salt tolerance as compared to cv. Apex 836. Overall, exogenous application of HA was effective in improving salinity tolerance of maize plants which can be attributed to HA-induced increase in plant biomass, chlorophyll contents, mineral nutrients and activities of key antioxidant enzymes.
Trace amounts of boron present as impurity in steel can be accurately determined by measuring the α-yield in10B (n,α)7Li reaction, since this reaction has a very high cross section for thermal and epithermal neutrons while natural boron contains
significant isotopic abundance of10B. The α-particles produced during10B (n,α)7Li nuclear reactions can be detected by solid state nuclear track detectors (SSNTDs) and the boron content and its distribution
can be determined in a sample. The technique involves the simultaneous irradiation of unknown and known samples with thermal
neutrons and recording the reaction products in SSNTDs as α-tracks. The α-tracks in the detectors are counted with the aid
of an optical microscope after chemical etching. Boron concentration and distribution in the unknown sample is determined
by counting and comparing the track density with that of standard sample of known boron concentration. The technique of SSNTDs
has been applied by us to determine the distribution of trace amount of boron in commercial alloy steel using LR-115, CA80-15,
CN-85 and CR-39 detectors. All these detectors pose various problems during reactor irradiation and etching. However, CR-39
has been found to be suitable for determining the magnitude and distribution of boron in steel. A brief description of the
method and the optimum irradiation and etching conditions of various detectors for α-track revelation along with results for
the estimation of boron in alloy steel are described in this paper.
Neutron induced radiography has been applied to the determination of boron concentrations in drinking water, collected from natural springs of Reshian and Muzaffarabad areas of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, using CR-39 etched track detectors. The technique is based upon the simultaneous irradiation with thermal neutrons of a sample of unknown concentration and a standard of known boron concentration, fixed on a track detector. The subsequent counting of alpha and 7Li tracks in the detector resulting from the 10B(n,)7Li nuclear reaction is done after chemical etching. Boron concentration in the sample is determined by comparing 7Li and alpha-particle track density with that of a standard of known boron concentration. Boron concentrations in drinking water samples from Muzaffarabad and Reshian area of Azad Kashmir have been found to vary from (0.054±0.001) mg/l to (0.250±0.004) mg/l with an average of (0.16±0.002) mg/l. The observed concentration of boron in drinking water has been found to be less than the provisional Maximum Acceptable Concentration level (0.4 mg//l) of WHO. The drinking water from the reported area has been found to be within safe limits as far as boron related health hazards are concerned.