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Autotoxicity in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) seedlings is alleviated by silicon through an increase in the activity of antioxidant enzymes and by mitigating lipid peroxidation

Bu, Ruifang, Xie, Jianming, Yu, Jihua, Liao, Weibiao, Xiao, Xuemei, Lv, Jian, Wang, Cuili, Ye, Jie, Calderón-Urrea, Alejandro
Journal of plant biology = 2016 v.59 no.3 pp. 247-259
Cucumis sativus, antioxidant activity, antioxidants, ascorbate peroxidase, catalase, cinnamic acid, crop yield, cucumbers, defense mechanisms, enzyme activity, hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxidation, membrane permeability, peroxidase, plant growth, proline, root exudates, seed germination, seedlings, silicon, stress tolerance, superoxide dismutase
Autotoxicity in plants limits their growth and that of nearby plants of the same species, which has obvious implications in crop yield and quality. Silicon (Si) has been shown to increase plant tolerance to autotoxic stress. However, the physiological mechanisms underlying the effects of Si in alleviating autotoxicity during germination in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) are unknown. Cinnamic acid derivatives, such as 3-phenylpropionic acid (PA), are a class of autotoxins present in cucumber root exudates. Our objective was to investigate Si-induced autotoxic stress tolerance in cucumber seedlings by focusing on the effects of Si on the induction of antioxidant defense pathways. We found that PA treatment significantly reduced seed germination, radicle length, lateral root number, fresh weight, AsA and GSH contents, and the activities of SOD, CAT, and APX in cucumber seedlings, while it increased membrane permeability and levels of MDA, proline, O ₂ ⁻ , and H₂O₂. Application of Si enhanced growth of PA-treated plants and significantly increased germination rate, radicle length, lateral root number, fresh weight, AsA and GSH levels, and SOD, CAT, POD, and APX activities. These results suggest that exogenous Si alleviates autotoxicity caused by PA during seed germination by increasing antioxidant enzyme activities and mitigating lipid peroxidation.