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Low pH effects on reactive oxygen species and methylglyoxal metabolisms in Citrus roots and leaves

Long, An, Huang, Wei-Lin, Qi, Yi-Ping, Yang, Lin-Tong, Lai, Ning-Wei, Guo, Jiu-Xin, Chen, Li-Song
BMC plant biology 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 477
Citrus maxima, Citrus sinensis, acid soils, acid tolerance, death, enzymes, fibrous roots, glutathione, growth retardation, irrigation scheduling, leaves, malondialdehyde, metabolism, nutrient solutions, pH, root growth, roots, seedlings, superoxide anion, China
BACKGROUND: Limited data are available on the responses of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and methylglyoxal (MG) metabolisms to low pH in roots and leaves. In China, quite a few of Citrus are cultivated in acidic soils (pH < 5.0). ‘Xuegan’ (Citrus sinensis) and ‘Sour pummelo’ (Citrus grandis) (C. sinensis were more tolerant to low pH than C. grandis) seedlings were irrigated daily with nutrient solution at a pH of 2.5, 3 or 5 for nine months. Thereafter, we examined low pH effects on growth, and superoxide anion production rate (SAP), malondialdehyde (MDA), MG, antioxidants, and enzymes related to ROS and MG detoxification in roots and leaves in order to (a) test the hypothesis that low pH affected ROS and MG metabolisms more in roots than those of leaves, and (b) understand the roles of ROS and MG metabolisms in Citrus low pH-tolerance and -toxicity. RESULTS: Compared with control, most of the physiological parameters related to ROS and MG metabolisms were greatly altered at pH 2.5, but almost unaffected at pH 3. In addition to decreased root growth, many fibrous roots became rotten and died at pH 2.5. pH 2.5-induced changes in SAP, the levels of MDA, MG and antioxidants, and the activities of most enzymes related to ROS and MG metabolisms were greater in roots than those of leaves. Impairment of root ascorbate metabolism was the most serious, especially in C. grandis roots. pH 2.5-induced increases in MDA and MG levels in roots and leaves, decreases in the ratios of ascorbate/(ascorbate+dehydroascorbate) in roots and leaves and of reduced glutathione/(reduced+oxidized glutathione) in roots were greater in C. grandis than those in C. sinensis. CONCLUSIONS: Low pH affected MG and ROS metabolisms more in roots than those in leaves. The most seriously impaired ascorbate metabolism in roots was suggested to play a role in low pH-induced root death and growth inhibition. Low pH-treated C. sinensis roots and leaves had higher capacity to maintain a balance between ROS and MG production and their removal via detoxification systems than low pH-treated C. grandis ones, thus contribute to the higher acid-tolerance of C. sinensis.