Thiourea-mediated Nitric Oxide Production Enhances Tolerance to Boron Toxicity by Reducing Oxidative Stress in Bread Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and Durum Wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) Plants

  • Cengiz Kaya
  • Ali Sarioğlu
  • Nudrat Aisha Akram
  • Muhammad Ashraf


Two independent experiments were performed to assess the role of thiourea (TU)-mediated nitric oxide (NO) in mitigating boron toxicity (BT) in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Pandas) and durum wheat (Triticum durum cv. Altıntoprak 98) plants. In the first experiment, plants of the two wheat species were grown under control (0.05 mM B) and BT (0.2 mM B) supplied to nutrient solution for 4 weeks after germination. These two treatments were also combined with TU spray at 200 or 400 mg L−1 once a week during the period of stress. Boron toxicity reduced dry weights of shoot and root, leaf total chlorophyll, efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and leaf relative water content, whereas it increased endogenous nitric oxide (NO), nitric oxide synthase (NOS), electrolyte leakage (EL), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), malondialdehyde (MDA) and leaf B content. Reductions in total dry matter were 33% and 61% of control in cvs. Pandas and Altintoprak, respectively. Exogenous application of TU improved the plant growth attributes and led to further increases in NO in the leaves. An additional experiment was set up to further understand whether or not TU mediated NO production played a significant role in mitigation of BT using 0.1 mM scavenger of NO, 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide potassium salt (cPTIO) combined with the TU treatments by spraying once a week for 4 weeks. TU-induced BT tolerance was totally eliminated by cPTIO by reversing endogenous NO levels. BT enhanced the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD; EC, catalase (CAT; EC., peroxidase (POD; EC. and lipoxygenase (LOX; EC. as well as the contents of soluble sugars (SS), soluble proteins and phenols, but decreased NR. TU treatments enhanced enzyme activities, but reduced contents of soluble sugars (SS), soluble protein and phenols. The present results clearly indicate that TU mediated endogenous NO significantly improved BT tolerance of wheat plants. This evidence was also supported by the increase in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and malondialdehyde (MDA) as well as plant growth inhibition with the application of TU combined with cPTIO.


Boron stress Boron tolerance Oxidative defense system Antioxidant enzymes Non-enzymatic antioxidants 



The support of Harran University (HUBAK-18057) to this study is thankfully acknowledged.

Author Contributions

CK and AS conducted the experimentation and NAA conducted data analysis. CK and NAA also jointly wrote up the manuscript. MA helped in designing the study and edited critically the whole manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agriculture Faculty, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition DepartmentHarran UniversitySanliurfaTurkey
  2. 2.Department of BotanyGC University FaisalabadFaisalabadPakistan
  3. 3.Institute of Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyThe University of LahoreLahorePakistan

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