Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 959–967

Drought tolerance of Periploca sepium during seed germination: antioxidant defense and compatible solutes accumulation

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11738-012-1139-z

Cite this article as:
An, Y. & Liang, Z. Acta Physiol Plant (2013) 35: 959. doi:10.1007/s11738-012-1139-z


Periploca sepium Bunge is a native and widespread shrub on the Loess Plateau, an arid and semi-arid region in China. To understand the adaptability of its seed germination to dry environments, we investigated the germination rate, water relations, lipid peroxidation, antioxidant capacity and accumulation of major organic solutes during seed germination under water deficit conditions. Results showed that seeds pre-treated by hydration–dehydration or −0.9 MPa PEG germinated faster than control seeds, indicating strong resistance of P. sepium to drought condition. The re-dried seeds showed higher proline, total free amino acids (TFAA) and soluble proteins (SP) contents than control dry seeds, indicating the maintenance of physiological advancement when dehydrated. Osmotic stress made seed germination stay on the plateau phase (phase II). However, germinating seeds moved into phase III immediately once transferred into distilled water. Large increases in SP and soluble sugars (SS) of both re-dried and osmotic stressed seeds help themselves to resist drought stress. The re-hydrated seeds showed significantly higher levels of proline, TFAA, SP and SS than control seeds. The largely accumulated SS during osmotic stress declined sharply when transferred into distilled water. Our data demonstrate that P. sepium’s tolerance to drought stresses during germination is associated with enhanced activity of antioxidant enzymes and accumulation of some compatible solutes. Seed physiological advancement progressed slowly under low water conditions and it was maintained when seeds were air dried. This strategy ensures high and more rapid seed germination of P. sepium under drying and wetting conditions in drought-prone regions.


Germination mechanismsOrganic solutesHydration–dehydrationOsmotic stress

Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life SciencesNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Life scienceZhejiang Sci-Tech UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China