Seed priming with hydrogen peroxide alleviates the effects of drought stress in rice (Oryza sativa L.) seedlings
Drought stress is a major factor limiting crop growth and yield. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is known as a signalling molecule in the plant cell in which activates multiple physiological changes that play essential roles in tolerance mechanism. This study investigated the effects of seed priming with H2O2 on growth, some physiological characteristics and antioxidant enzyme activities in rice seedling under drought stress. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) cv. Khao Dawk Mali 105 seeds were primed with 0 (distilled water), 1, 5, 10, and 15 mM H2O2 and grown for 21 days. The seedlings were subjected to drought stress by withholding water for 7 days. The results showed that priming with low concentrations of H2O2 improved plant growth and biomass as well as relative water content, malondialdehyde content, electrolyte leakage. Priming with H2O2, however, had no beneficial effect on chlorophyll content, proline and leaf total soluble sugar. Seed priming with appropriate levels of H2O2 also enhanced antioxidant enzyme activities including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and guaiacol peroxidase (GPX). It is concluded that seed priming with 2-10 mM H2O2, is beneficial for enhancing drought tolerance in rice seedling by increasing antioxidant capacity, which in turn reduces oxidative stress and damages to the cellular components.
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