, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 278-284
Date: 04 Jul 2009

The mitigating role of environmental factors in seedling injury and chill-dependent depression of catalase activity in maize leaves

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In pot experiments performed on maize seedlings chilled at 5 °C, leaf injury was diminished by the application of elevated temperature (1 or 5 h at 15 or 20°C, “warm breaks” treatment) in a dose-dependent manner. The lower the injury count, the higher the catalase (CAT) activity. In a separate experiment, the application of 100 % relative humidity also protected the plants from chilling injury and water loss, increased their gas exchange and variable to maximum chlorophyll fluorescence ratio (Fv/Fm), but did not influence CAT activity. Another protective environmental factor, elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration [700 µmol(CO2) mol−1(air)] diminished CAT activity inhibition, but only in plants of chilling-resistant cultivar. The positive impact of specific environmental factors accompanying chilling is not obviously related to the suppression of the inhibition of CAT activity, although the enzyme is considered as chilling-sensitive.