, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 259–266 | Cite as

Acclimatization of micropropagated plantlets induces an antioxidative burst: a case study with Ulmus minor Mill.

Original Papers


In this article, the effects of increased light intensities on antioxidant metabolism during ex vitro establishment of Ulmus minor micropropagated plants are investigated. Three month old in vitro plants were acclimatized to ex vitro conditions in a climate chamber with two different light intensities, 200 μmol m−2 s−1 (high light, HL) and 100 μmol m−2 s−1 (low light, LL) during 40 days. Immediately after ex vitro transfer, the increase of both malondialdehyde (MDA) and electrolyte leakage in persistent leaves is indicative of oxidative stress. As the acclimatization continues, an upregulation of the superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione reductase (GR) enzyme activities were also observed. Simultaneously, MDA content and membrane permeability stabilized, suggesting that the antioxidant enzymes decrease the deleterious effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Unexpectedly, newly formed leaves presented a different pattern of antioxidative profile, with high levels of MDA and membrane leakage and low antioxidant enzyme activity. Despite these differences, both leaf types looked healthy (e.g. greenish, with no necrotic spots) during the whole acclimatization period. The results indicate that micropropagated U. minor plantlets develop an antioxidant enzyme system after ex vitro transfer and that, in general, LL treatment leads to lower oxidative stress. Moreover, new leaves tolerate higher levels of ROS without the need to activate the antioxidative pathway, which suggests that the environment at which leaves are exposed during its formation determinate their ability to tolerate ROS.

Additional key words

antioxidant enzymes lipid peroxidation micropropagation Ulmus minor 



ascorbate peroxidase






fresh mass


glutathione reductase


high-light treatment


idolbutiric acid


electrical conductivity after autoclaving


electrical conductivity before autoclaving


low-light treatment




naftalenoacetic acid


nitroblue tetrazolium chloride


phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride


photosynthetic photon flux density


reactive oxygen species


superoxide dismutase


thiobarbituric acid


trichloroacetic acid


extinction coefficient


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This work was supported by Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) through a post-doctoral fellowship of M. C. Dias (SFRH/BPD/41700/2007).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) & Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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