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Effect of potassium deficiency on antioxidant status and cadmium toxicity in rice seedlings

Liu, Chun-Hsin, Chao, Yun-Yang, Kao, Ching Huei
Botanical studies 2013 v.54 no.1 pp. 2
abiotic stress, antioxidants, ascorbate peroxidase, biomass production, cadmium, catalase, chlorophyll, chlorosis, enzyme activity, glutathione, glutathione-disulfide reductase, heavy metals, leaves, oxidative stress, potassium, protective effect, rice, roots, seedlings, shoots, superoxide dismutase, toxicity
BACKGROUND: Cadmium (Cd) is one of the most toxic heavy metals and inhibits physiological processes of plants. Potassium (K) is an essential macronutrient in plants. K deficiency and Cd stress represent two different abiotic stress conditions that occur in the field simultaneously. In this study, effects of K deficiency on antioxidant status and Cd toxicity in rice seedlings were investigated. RESULTS: K deficiency significantly decreased K concentration in shoots and roots. However, fresh weight and dry weight of rice seedlings were not affected by K deficiency. The activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and catalase) in K-deficient leaves were higher than respective control leaves. However, K deficiency had no effect on the content of antioxidants (ascorbate and glutathione). Cd toxicity was judged by the decrease in biomass production, chlorosis, and induction of oxidative stress. Based on these criteria, we demonstrated that K deficiency protected rice seedling from Cd stress. Moreover, chlorophyll concentration was higher in K-deficient shoots and roots than their respective control shoots and roots. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicated that K deficiency protects rice seedlings from Cd toxicity. This protective effect of K deficiency is mainly due to enhanced antioxidant enzyme activities but not inhibition of Cd uptake.