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Ability of ellagic acid to alleviate osmotic stress on chickpea seedlings

El-Soud, Walid Abu, Hegab, Momtaz Mohamed, AbdElgawad, Hamada, Zinta, Gaurav, Asard, Han
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2013 v.71 pp. 173-183
acid treatment, antioxidant activity, betaine, catalase, chickpeas, chromatography, crops, electrolytes, ellagic acid, flavonoids, glutathione, glutathione-disulfide reductase, hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxidation, naringenin-chalcone synthase, osmotic stress, peroxidase, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, polyethylene glycol, proline, seed germination, seedling growth, seedlings, seeds, shikimic acid, solutes, superoxide dismutase
Seed germination and growth of seedlings are critical phases of plant life that are adversely affected by various environmental cues. Water availability is one of the main factors that limit the productivity of many crops. This study was conducted to assess the changes in the sensitivity of chickpea seedlings to osmotic stress by prior treatment of chickpea seeds with a low concentration (50 ppm) of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid was isolated and purified from Padina boryana Thivy by chromatographic techniques. After ellagic acid treatment, seeds were germinated for 10 days under different osmotic potentials (0, −0.2, −0.4, −0.6 and −0.8 MPa) of polyethylene glycol (PEG) solutions. Ellagic acid treatment accelerated the germination and seedling growth of chickpea under osmotic stress conditions. Consistent with the accelerated growth, ellagic acid-treated seedlings also showed a significant increase in the total antioxidant capacity (FRAP) as well as an increase in the compatible solutes (proline and glycine betaine) content. Additionally, treated seedlings revealed lower lipid peroxidation levels (MDA), electrolyte leakage (EL) and H2O2. Flavonoid and reduced glutathione (GSH) content, and the activity of antioxidant enzymes [catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione reductase (GR)] and enzymes of the shikimic acid pathway [phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and chalcone synthase (CHS)] all showed a remarkable increase with ellagic acid pretreatment compared to untreated seedlings especially under mild osmotic stress values (−0.2 and −0.4 MPa). These results suggested that treatment with ellagic acid could confer an increased tolerance of chickpea seedlings to osmotic stress, through reducing levels of H2O2 and increasing antioxidant capacity.