Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 43–56 | Cite as

Protective effects of hydrogen-rich water on the photosynthetic apparatus of maize seedlings (Zea mays L.) as a result of an increase in antioxidant enzyme activities under high light stress

  • Xiaonan Zhang
  • Xueqiang Zhao
  • Zuoqiang Wang
  • Wenbiao Shen
  • Xiaoming Xu
Original paper


Hydrogen gas (H2) is an endogenous gaseous molecule in plants. Although it is recently described as an important bio-regulator in plants, the role of H2 in high light stress amelioration is largely unknown. This study investigated the mechanism of hydrogen-rich water (HRW)-mediated enhancement of tolerance against high light stress of maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings. Maize seedlings were supplied with different concentrations of HRW and its effects on the plant growth, the chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, the activities of several antioxidative enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and glutathione reductase (GR), the levels of superoxide radical (O2 ), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and the degrees of the oxidative damage to the membrane lipids under high light stress were examined. With respect to samples treated with high light stress alone, exogenous H2 pretreatments differentially attenuated the damage of photosynthetic apparatus by high irradiance. Further results showed that concentration-dependent effects of HRW were shown in stressed maize seedlings. Exogenous H2 supplement could elevate the activities of antioxidative enzymes, including SOD, CAT, APX, and GR. These results were confirmed by the alleviation of oxidative damage, as indicated by a decrease of the level of O2 and H2O2 as well as the content of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances. Taken together, our results suggested that exogenous H2 treatment could protect the photosynthetic apparatus from photo-damage through mitigating photo-oxidation enabled by a high level of antioxidative enzyme activities.


Hydrogen-rich water (HRW) Maize seedlings High light stress Antioxidant enzymes 



One-way analysis of variance


Ascorbate peroxidase


Ascorbic acid








The specific energy fluxes for dissipation per reaction center


Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid


Initial fluorescence intensity


Maximal fluorescence intensity


Variable fluorescence in dark-adapted leaves


Maximum quantum yield of PSII photochemistry


Fresh weight


Glutathione reductase


Hydrogen gas


Hydrogen peroxide


High light


Hydrogen-rich water


Reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate


Nitro blue tetrazolium


Superoxide radical


Oxygen-evolving complex


Performance index on an absorption basis


Net Photosynthetic rate


Photosynthetic photon flux density


Photosystem II


Reaction center


The amount of active PSII reaction centers per excited cross section


Reactive oxygen species


Superoxide dismutase


Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances


The relative fluorescence intensity of J-step


The efficiency with which a trapped exciton can move an electron into the electron transport chain further than Q A


The variable fluorescence at 300 μs


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaonan Zhang
    • 1
  • Xueqiang Zhao
    • 1
  • Zuoqiang Wang
    • 1
  • Wenbiao Shen
    • 1
  • Xiaoming Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Life SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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