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Ecophysiological Responses of Calcicole <i>Cyclobalanopsis glauca</i> (Thunb.) Oerst. to Drought Stress and Calcium Supply

Xue, Liang, Ren, Huadong, Long, Wei, Leng, Xiuhui, Wang, Jia, Yao, Xiaohua, Li, Sheng
Forests 2018 v.9 no.11
Quercus, antioxidant activity, ascorbate peroxidase, calcareous soils, calcicoles, calcium, catalase, chlorophyll, drought, drought tolerance, ecophysiology, enzyme activity, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione-disulfide reductase, karsts, leaves, malondialdehyde, osmoregulation, osmotic stress, oxidative stress, peroxidase, photosynthesis, reactive oxygen species, soil properties, stomatal conductance, superoxide dismutase, water content, water potential, water stress, water use efficiency
Water deficit and high calcium (Ca2+) content and are two typical soil characteristics in the Karst region. However, the problem of whether high Ca2+ in Karst calcareous soil could increase drought tolerance in calcicole plants has not been solved. We investigated the ecophysiological responses of Cyclobalanopsis glauca (Thunb.) Oerst. cuttings to short-term drought stress and Ca2+ application. Drought stress (10% PEG-6000) markedly reduced relative water content (RWC) and water potential (WP), and enhanced the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production (H<inf>2</inf>O<inf>2</inf> and O<inf>2</inf>&bull;&minus;) and malondialdehyde (MDA) content in C. glauca leaves. Under drought treatment, exogenous Ca2+ application (20 mM CaCl<inf>2</inf>) markedly increased the RWC and WP, and reduced the H<inf>2</inf>O<inf>2</inf>, O<inf>2</inf>&bull;&minus;, and MDA content. Furthermore, water deficit induced a significant increase in the activities of antioxidant enzymes such as peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), glutathione reductase (GR), and glutathione peroxidase (GPX), and increased the accumulation of osmoregulation substances. External Ca2+ alleviated drought-induced oxidative stress and osmotic stress with further increased activities of antioxidant enzymes, and enhanced the accumulation of osmoregulation substances. In addition, exogenous Ca2+ treatment alleviated the reduction of the photosynthesis rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), transpiration rate (Tr), and chlorophyll content (SPAD), and further increased water use efficiency (WUE) under drought stress. This study confirms that exogenouos Ca2+ application induces improvements in the water status, osmotic adjustment, antioxidant defense, and photosynthesis efficiency of C. glauca under drought stress.