Zinc and iron-mediated alleviation water deficiency of maize by modulating antioxidant metabolism

  • Mojtaba AFSHARI Department of Agronomy, Khuzestan Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz
  • Ahmad NADERI Research Organization, Agricultural Extension and Education, Khuzestan Research Center of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ahvaz https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6430-456X
  • Mani MOJADAM Department of Agronomy, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz
  • Shahram LACK Department of Agronomy, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz
  • Mojtaba ALAVIFAZEL Department of Agronomy, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz
Keywords: enzyme; maize; superoxide dismutase; water stress; zinc sulfate


Microelements are inorganic compounds involved in the synthesis of enzymes and biologically active substances. To evaluate the physiological responses of maize to ZnSO4 and FeSO4 under drought stress, a field experiment was conducted on maize plants grown under different soil moistures and treated with foliar ZnSO4 and FeSO4 applications. Drought stress especially at early seed growth stage significantly reduced grain yield and Fv/Fm ratio; however, the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione reductase (GR) was enhanced under drought stress. Foliar applied ZnSO4 and FeSO4 boosted the grain yield under non irrigation at vegetative growth stage and at early seed growth stage, respectively.  Between grain yield and MDA concentration (r=­ -0.73), superoxide dismutase (r= -0.57), peroxidase (r= -0.49), H2O2 (r= -0.67) and catalase enzyme (r= -0.42) significant and negative correlation were observed. Combined application of ZnSO4 and FeSO4 resulted in alleviation of maize plant drought stress by Zn and Fe-mediated improvement in photosynthetic attributes. In addition, the foliar application of ZnSO4 and FeSO4 regulated physiological processes in maize plants and alleviated the adverse effects of water stress. According to the results, ZnSO4 and FeSO4 could be used for improving maize growth under drought stress.


Metrics Loading ...


Afrousheh M, Hokmabadi H, Mirseyed Hosseini H (2010). Effect of nitrogen, iron, magnesium, manganese and molybdenum deficiencies on biochemical and ecophysiological characteristics of pistachio seedling (Pistacia vera). Options Mediterraneenes 94:53-63.

Ahmed-Amal O, Mekki BB (2005). Yield and yield components of two maize hybrids as influenced by water deficit during different growth stages. Egyptian Journal of Applied Sciences 20:64-79.

Akbari GA, Amirinejad M, Baghizadeh A, Allahdadi I, Shahbazi M (2013). Effect of Zn and Fe foliar application on yield, yield components and some physiological traits of cumin (Cuminum cyminum) in dry farming. International Journal of Agronomy and Plant Production 4(12):3231-3237.

Amiri NM, Akbari G, Baghizadeh A, Allah DA, Shahbazi M, Naimi W (2015). Effect of drought stress and iron and zinc foliar application on some biochemical properties of cumin. Journal of Crops Improvement 17(4):866-855.

Anjum SA, Wang LC, Farooq M, Hussain M, Xue LL, Zou CM (2011). Brassinolide application improves the drought tolerance in maize through modulation of enzymatic antioxidants and leaf gas exchange. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 197:177-185. https://doi/j.1439-037X.2010. 00459. X

Amanullah KI, Jan A, Muhammad TJM, Khan KS, Shah Z, Afzal M (2015). Compost and nitrogen management influence productivity of spring maize (Zea mays L.) under deep and conventional tillage systems in semi-arid regions. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 46 (12):1-13. https://doi/00103624.2015.1043462

Ashraf U, Kanu AS, Mo Z, Hussain S, Anjum SA, Khan I (2015). Lead toxicity in rice: effects, mechanisms, and mitigation strategies-a mini reviews. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 22:18318-18332.

Baishnab CT, Ralf O (2012). Reactive oxygen species generation and signaling in plants. Plant Signaling & Behavior 7:1621-1633.

Balabusta M, Szafranska K, Posmyk MM (2016). Exogenous melatonin improves antioxidant defence in cucumber seeds (Cucumis sativus l.) germinated under chilling stress. Frontiers in Plant Science 7:1-12. https://doi/10.3389/fpls.2016.00575

Blume DE, McClure J (1980). Developmental effects of Sandoz 6706 on activities of enzymes of phenolic and general metabolism in barely shoots grown in the dark or under low of high intensity light. Plant Physiology 65: 234-238. https://doi/10.1104/pp.65.2.238

Cakmak I (2008). Tansley Review No. 111- possible roles of zinc in protecting plant cells from damage by reactive oxygen species. New Phytologist 146:185-205. https://doi/10.1046/j.1469-8137.2000.00630. X

Cavalcanti FR, Oliveira JT, Martins-miranda AAS, Viegas RA, Silveira JAG (2004). Superoxide dismutase, catalase and peroxidase activities do not confer protection against oxidative damage in salt-stressed cowpea leaves. New Phytologist 163:563-571. https://doi/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004. 01139.x

Falqueto AR, Junior RAS, Gomes MTG, Martins JPR, Silva DM, Partelli FLE (2017). effect of drought stress on chlorophyll a fluorescence in two rubber tree clones. Scientia Horticulturae 224:238-243. https://doi/10.1016/j.scienta.2017.06.019

Fathi K (2010). Effect of soil and leaf use of iron element on morphological and physiological traits of a spring safflower cultivar under water stress, M.Sc. Thesis. Shahed University.

FAOSTAT (2012). http://faostat.fao.org/site/567/desktopdefault.aspx#ancor

Farooq M, Hussain M, Siddique KH (2014). Drought stress in wheat during flowering and grain-filling periods. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 33(4):331-349. https://doi/ 10.1080/07352689.2014.875291

Farooq M, Wahid A, Kobayashi N, Fujita D, Basra SMA (2009). Plant drought stress: effects mechanisms and management. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 29:185-212. https://doi/10.1051/agro:2008021

Foyer CH, Fletcher JM (2001). Plant antioxidants: colour me healthy. Biologist 48:115-120.

Gill SS, Tuteja N (2011). Cadmium stress tolerance in crop plants probing the role of sulfur. Plant Signaling & Behavior 6: 215-222. https://doi/ 10.4161/psb.6.2.14880

Esringü A, Kant C, Yildirim E, Karlidag H, Turan M (2011). Ameliorative effect of foliar nutrient supply on growth, inorganic ions, membrane permeability, and leaf relative water content of physalis plants under salinity stress. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 42(4):408-423. https://doi/10.1080/00103624.2011.542220

Hussain S, Maqsood MA, Rengel Z, Aziz T (2012). Biofortification and estimated human bioavailability of zinc in wheat grains as influenced by methods of zinc application. Plant Soil 361:279-290. https://doi/10.1007/s11104-012-1217-4

Karim MR, Zhang YQ, Zhao RR, Chen XP, Zhang FS, Zou CQ (2012). Alleviation of drought stress in winter wheat by late foliar application of zinc, boron, and manganese. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 175:142-151. https://doi/10.1002/jpln.201100141

Kawakami EM, Oosterhuis DM, Snider JL, (2010). Physiological effects of 1-methylcyclopropene on well-watered and water-stressed cotton plants. Plant Growth Regulation 29:280-288. https://doi/ 10.1007/s00344-009-9134-3.

Kerchev PI, Waszczak C, Lewandowska A, Willems P, Shapiguzov A, Li Zh, … Van Breusegem F (2016). Lack of glycolate oxidase-1, but not glycolate oxidase-2, attenuates the photorespiratory phenotype of catalase-2 deficient Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 171:1704-1719. https://doi/10.1104/pp.16.00359

Mansouri M, Jorfi A, Mojaddam M (2018). Evaluation of enzymatic and non-enzymatic defense system of antioxidants in reducing adverse effects of stress salinity. First National Conference on Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock. Ardakan University, Iran.

Malakouti MJ, Tehrani MM (2005). The role of zinc in increasing quantitative and qualitative products and improving community health. Agricultural Education Publication, pp 194. (In Persian).

Morteza SR, Haddad R, Jafari B (2012). Effects of soil water shortages on the activity of antioxidant enzymes and the contents of chlorophylls and proteins in barley. American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences 12(1):57-63.

Munne-Bosch S, Penuelas J (2003). Photo and antioxidative protection, and a role for salicylic acid during drought and recovery in fieldgrown Phillyrea angustifolia plants. Planta 217:758-766. https://doi/10.1007/s00425-003-1037-0

Nawabpour S, Latifi N, Hosseini S, Kazemi G (2011). Grain yield assessment with respect to changes in yield components and growth indicators in wheat. Electronic Journal of Crop Production 4(3):157-173.

Nagues Y, Baker N R (2000). Effect of drought on photosynthesis in Mediterranean plants grown under enhance UV-B radiation. Journal of Experimental Botany 358:1309-1317. https://doi/ 10.1093/jxb/51.348.1309

Ranieri A, Castagna A, Baldan B, Soldatini GF (2001). Ironvdeficiency differently affects peroxidase isoforms in sunflower. Journal of Experimental Botany 52(354):25-35. https://doi/ 10.1093/jexbot/52.354.25

Sharma P, Jha AB, Dubey RS, Pessarakli M (2012). Reactive oxygen species, oxidative damage and antioxidative defense mechanism in plants under stressful conditions. Journal of Botany 2012:1-26. https://doi/ 10.1155/2012/217037

SAS Institute. (2004). User’s guide: Statistics. Cary, NC: SAS Institute.

Tabatabai SMR, Oveysi M, Honarnejad R (2015). Evaluation of some characteristics of corn under water stress and zinc foliar application. Gmp Review 16:34-38.

Tavallali V, Rahemi M, Eshghi S, Kholdebarin B, Ramezanian A (2010). Zinc alleviates salt stress and increase antioxidant enzyme activity in the leaves of pistachio (Pistacia vera L. ’Badami’) seedings. Turkish Journal of Agriculture. For. 34:349-359. https://doi/10.3906/tar-0905-10

Tripathi DK, Singh S, Gaur S, Singh S, Yadav V, Dubey NK, … Sahi S (2018). Acquisition and homeostasis of iron in higher plants and their probable role in abiotic stress tolerance. Frontiers in Environmental Science 5:86. https://doi/10.3389/fenvs.2017.00086

Velikova V, Loreto F (2005). On the relationship between isoprene emission and thermo tolerance in Phragmites ausrralis leaves exposed to high temperatures and during the recovery from a heat stress. Plant, Cell and Environment 28: 18-327. https://doi/10.1111/j.1365-3040.2004.01314. X

Wang F, Zeng B, Sun Z, Zhu C (2009). Relationship between proline and Hg+2 - induced oxidative stress in tolerant rice mutant. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 56:723-731. https://doi/10.1007/s00244-008-9226-2

Walton PD (1983). Production and management of cultivated forages. Restan Publ Co Restan VA USA, pp 336.

Yang PM, Huang QC, Qin GY, Zhao SP, Zhou JG (2014). Different drought-stress responses in photosynthesis and reactive oxygen metabolism between autotetraploid and diploid rice. Photosynthetica 52:193-202. https://doi/ 10.1007/s11099-014-0020-2

Yavas I, Unay A (2016). Effects of zinc and salicylic acid on wheat under drought stress. Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences 26:1012-1018.

How to Cite
AFSHARI, M., NADERI, A., MOJADAM, M., LACK, S., & ALAVIFAZEL, M. (2020). Zinc and iron-mediated alleviation water deficiency of maize by modulating antioxidant metabolism. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, 48(2), 989-1004. https://doi.org/10.15835/nbha48211923
Research Articles