Exogenous 5-Aminolevulenic Acid Promotes Antioxidative Defence System, Photosynthesis and Growth in Soybean against Cold Stress
In the present study, the possibility of enhancing cold stress tolerance of young soybean plants (Glycine max [L.] Merr) by exogenous application of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) was investigated. ALA was applied at various concentrations (0, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 mM) by seed priming and foliar application method. After ALA treatment, the plants were subjected to cold stress at 10 ± 0.5 °C for 72 h. Cold stress significantly decreased plant growth, relative water content, chlorophyll, photosynthesis and stomatal conductivity, while it increased electrolyte leakage and proline accumulation. ALA at low concentrations (0.3 mM) protected plants against cold stress, enhancing plant height, shoot fresh and dry weight, chlorophyll content, photosynthesis, stomatal conductivity as well as relative water content. Increase of electrolyte leakage was also prevented by 0.6 mM ALA. ALA also enhanced superoxide dismutase and catalase activities at 0.6 mM concentration especially under cold stress conditions. Proline increased with increasing in ALA concentration under both temperature conditions. In most cases, application of ALA by spraying method was better than seed priming method. Results showed that ALA, which is considered as an endogenous plant growth regulator, can be used effectively to protect soybean plants from the damaging effects of cold stress, by enhancing the activity of antioxidative enzymes, protecting cell membrane against reactive oxygen species and finally by promoting chlorophyll synthesis, leading to more intense photosynthesis and more carbon fixation, without any adverse effect on the plant growth.
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