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Dissecting the stress metabolic alterations in in vitro Cyrtanthus regenerants

Ncube, Bhekumthetho, Finnie, Jeffrey F., Van Staden, Johannes
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2013 v.65 pp. 102-110
Cyrtanthus contractus, enzyme activity, metabolites, phenolic compounds, plantlets, polyethylene glycol, proline, salinity, salt stress, sodium chloride, solutes, water stress
Metabolic plasticity in plants allows for continuous adjustments of defence strategies in suboptimal environments. Proline and other metabolites figure prominently in most stress-mediated responses. This study examined the expression of salinity and osmotic adjustments in the enzymatic activity and accumulation of solutes and metabolites in response to imposed water and salt stress in Cyrtanthus contractus N.E. Br. and Cyrtanthus guthrieae L. Bolus regenerants. In vitro-derived plantlets were cultured on solid Murashige and Skoog (MS) media with three different polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced osmotic levels and four NaCl stress-induced levels at 25 °C. The levels of proline and phenolic compounds measured at intervals of three, four and five weeks from initial plantlet culture increased in a stress-dependent pattern. The levels of these metabolites also showed a significant increase with an increase in the duration of plantlets under stress conditions. The highest proline concentration (9.98 μmol g−1 FW) was recorded in C. contractus at 300 μM NaCl after five weeks. A corresponding high level of total phenolic compounds (147 mg GAE g−1 DW) was also recorded in the same treatment for the same species. The activity of proline dehydrogenase (PDH) (EC was shown to decrease with an increase in proline levels from week three to week five in almost all the stress conditions. The high levels, particularly of phenolic compounds obtained under osmotic and salinity stress conditions in this study present a promising potential of manipulating culture and/or growing conditions for improved secondary compound production and hence medicinal benefits.